Crime & Public Safety

Charging laptop starts fire at Beaufort County school Sunday morning, officials say

A laptop left charging on a “combustible” material started a small fire at Beaufort Academy Sunday morning, officials with the Lady’s Island St. Helena Fire District say.

The fire department first responded to the school at 6:24 a.m. after a passerby noticed the fire alarm sounding and called 911, said Scott Harris, fire district spokesman.

Crews did not notice signs of a fire after walking through the building, Harris said. The fire’s location, inside a classroom, was discovered after reviewing data from the school’s sprinkler system.

Fire and water damage were restricted to the classroom because the sprinkler system activated only in that location and it was able to extinguish the fire before it spread, Harris said.

About 300 students from preschool through 12th grade attend Beaufort Academy, the school’s website says. It describes itself as an independent college preparatory school.