NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – Firefighters with the North Charleston Fire Department, Charleston Fire Department and St. Andrews Fire Department responded to reports of a structure fire on the corner of Cherokee and Osceola Streets in North Charleston just before 5:00 a.m. on Thursday, February 18.
When crews arrived, they found a two story building fully engulfed in flames.
According to officials, the wood frame building known as the “Kraft Ave. Store” is now a total loss.
The North Charleston Fire Department tells News 2 the damage is much more significant than they usually see.
NCFD Spokesperson Bianca Bourbeau says, “It took a long while. It’s not our normal, get in there and 10 minutes later the fire is out. It was a much more aggressive, labor intensive attack.”
It was a two story building with a brand new, not yet open convenience store on the first level, and an apartment on the second. There is so much damage because the structure collapsed right as fire fighters arrived. The Fire Department is still not sure if anyone was inside.
Bourbeau says, “There were reports that two people were inside the building. We have no evidence if they were in the building or not. So their whereabouts are still just, we’re just not quite sure where they are yet.”
People in the neighborhood say they were shocked to come across the scene this morning.
One neighbor, Tiffany Gadsden, says, “I’ve just never seen anything like that before, not even heard a loud sound that close to me before.”
Multiple neighbors told News 2 they were woken up by a loud boom, like an explosion.
Gadsden says, “I’m pretty sure everyone woke up to that sound. And pretty much just, a building just don’t blow up like that.”
Bourbeau says, “I don’t have any information to that. I have heard the neighbors reports as well, but I just don’t have any information.”
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Kyle Minick, Deputy Fire Chief with the City of North Charleston Fire Department tweeted a picture of the scene shortly after firefighters arrived on scene.