Blaze burns downtown Charleston homes (updated: series of fires tires community)

Image by FirefighterEast

Update July 2: The blaze is not only another in the series of more than 50 suspicious downtown blazes, but it's also the fourth home that property manager Ute Appleby has had hit by such a fire.

NBC News 2 reports that properties she manages at 26 Morris Street, 60 Cannon Street, and 71 Smith Street were also hit in past years.

Update July 1: We're a full day out from the fire and concerns are high that this could be the latest in a string of suspicious downtown Charleston arson-like fires.

The pattern, if you recall, is that an empty or college-student occupied home in the Cannonborough area will have a fire break out on the porch. There have been more than 50 such suspicious incidents since 2003.

The Post and Courier has a robust update on the cindered homes as well as some solid photos of the aftermath.

Meanwhile a couple noteworthy video have popped up — the one up top comes by way of YouTube user "FirefighterEast" and shows the home burning. A second video down in the footer (link) by "otecpeter" shows a video tour of the aftermath, along with a rather odd quote: 

Man 1: "This is my friend Diego and he lives right there. Diego tell us what happened."

Diego: "Well, I was sleeping my roomate comes in says, 'It's kindof an emergency, the house next door is burning down.' I bring my chello."

We'll keep you posted.

First reporting, June 30, 6 a.m.: In what was a massive visual fireball, one home burned, spreading to a second and damaging a third near 4 a.m. today.

The fire struck the homes on the 200 block of Rutledge Avenue between Spring and Bogard streets.

While the cause is yet unknown, firefighters reportedly have it under control. 

For now I'll point you to WCIV for a shot of the blaze and some basic info.

We'll keep you posted.

Update 7:45 a.m.: Some noteworthy updates are trickling in.

WCIV has updated with some raw video that will give you an idea of just how voluminous the blaze was (watch that here), and The Post and Courier's Andy Paras has a shot of the street corner in daylight that will help you get a better idea of the location (see that here).

Also, SCE&G says that concerns about any gas line damage have been put to bed.

We'll keep you updated.

Update June 30, 3:43 p.m.: As mentioned above, SCE&G has safely removed the leaking gas line from 245 Rutledge Avenue and capped the line to prep for demolition. The location has been deemed safe, prompting fire investigators and police detectives to begin the investigation into the cause and origin of the fire.

However, according to The Post and Courier's afternoon update, Rutledge Avenue remains closed from Spring Street to the Crosstown and could be closed through the end of the day.

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