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Embers from a charcoal grill possibly started a house fire on Fraser Drive off North Street in Beaufort shortly after midnight Sunday, according to a press release from the Beaufort Fire Department.
Two dogs died in the fire but the residents escaped safely, firefighters said.
Approximately 35 firefighters from the Beaufort/Port Royal Fire Department and Burton Fire District helped battle the blaze near Riverview Charter School. When the first units arrived at the 400 block of Fraser Drive just before 1 a.m., the house already was 50 percent consumed, Beaufort/Port Royal Fire Chief Sammy Negron said.
Heavy fire conditions initially prevented firefighters from entering the structure. An exterior attack beat back the flames to allow them inside.
Representatives from the Palmetto Chapter of the American Red Cross responded to the scene and rendered assistance to the home owner. No civilians or firefighters were injured as a result of the fire. Beaufort County EMS assisted at the fire.
Investigators said the fire was an accident as embers from an improperly extinguished charcoal grill could not be ruled out as the cause of the fire. Fire investigators suspected hot embers from the grill ignited the wooden patio deck, causing the fire to rapidly grow from the exterior of the structure to the interior.
Firefighters remind residents of the importance of cooking and grilling only on non-combustibles surfaces, preferably at least 15 feet away from ordinary combustible materials. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) cooking equipment continues to be the leading cause of residential fires in the United States.