West Columbia, SC (Paul Kirby) - Firefighters from the City of West Columbia, Lexington County, the Irmo Fire District, and the City of Columbia Fire Department responded to a structure fire on Senn Street near Augusta Road in West Columbia Friday morning. The fire was originally dispatched at the intersection of Senn and Meeting Street; however, when police officers arrived on the scene, they reported it was to the rear of Wentworth Printing. Meeting Street is just about one block east. Those police officers relayed the exact location to the responding firefighters and reported smoke and flames were coming out the structure when they pulled up.
The fire was reported about 5:15 a.m. Friday morning. Firefighters from the West Columbia Fire Department were first on scene and they were followed by personnel from Lexington County, Irmo, and the City of Columbia. As equipment began to arrive, West Columbia Police Officer Chuck Sharpe, a retired Lexington County firefighter, assisted fire crews by wrapping a large supply hose around a fire hydrant he had spotted close by. That allowed the crews to save valuable time and quickly establish the water supply to fight the fire.
Crews immediately began aggressively attacking the blaze. According to Operations Chief Marquis Solomon of the West Columbia Fire Department, the fire was under control in about 15 minutes. He said the building was a home that had been converted to an office. He said it was almost completely destroyed by the fire.
Lexington County EMS also have personnel on the scene assisting the firefighters. West Columbia police officers are still there assisting with traffic control and scene safety. Dominion Energy has also been requested to disconnect the utility service.
According to West Columbia Assistant Police Chief Scott Morrison, the only street affected by the fire is Senn Street. It is blocked in that area because fire trucks and hoses are in the road.
Chief Solomom said that the cause of the fire is still under investigation. They have not estimated the monetary loss to the structure as a result of the fire.