Large lake home destroyed by fire early Friday morning
Gilbert, SC – 03/05/3032 (Paul Kirby) - A lake home described by the first arriving firefighters as a “three story house” was destroyed by fire early Friday morning. The fire was reported just before 3:00 a.m. off Shull Avenue on Shull Island, a prominent landmark on Lake Murray.
Shull Island lies between the Chapin and Lexington shores of Lake Murray. It sits between Bombing Range Island and the area near Dreher Island State Park and further west, the Twin Bridges community. A fire at the end of Shull Island at night could almost certainly be seen for miles and probably was visible from at least three of the counties that border the lake.
Firefighters from Lexington County stations rushed to the scene after the fire was originally reported. Shull Island is at the end of a long peninsula off US Hwy. 378 north of the town of Lexington. Because of its one way in/one way out access, it’s a long run for any emergency services. Still, the first crews arrived on scene within a reasonable time and reported that at least half of the home was already engulfed in flames.
There are special challenges to fighting fire in areas along the shores of Lake Murray like this. Fire crews are surrounded by water but often have a difficult time accessing it to supply their efforts. In this case, there were no fire hydrants close by. Boat ramps that would allow heavy fire engines full access to the waters of the lake without homes or soft yards to hinder their approach were difficult to find. Originally, water tanker trucks were used to supply water to fight the fire until another source could be located and established.
The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department’s Fire Boat was requested but it had an extended response time due to the hour. It can draw water out of the lake to supply fire trucks or use a large monitor nozzle to direct a stream of water onto the fire itself. That boat eventually arrived, and a neighbor also offered a ramp close by that did give them access to draw water out of Lake Murray to fight the fire at some point.
A portion of the home began to collapse as the fire progressed. Firefighters were undeterred, and they continued to fight diligently until the fire was brought under control. That took several hours.
The home was deemed a total loss. The cause of the fire hasn’t been determined.