SEABROOK, S.C. (WSAV)- The Burton Fire District (BFD), along with other local emergency crews responded to a reported fire on Fieldfare Way, which destroyed a Seabrook church.
Around 1 a.m. Sunday morning, emergency crews received a call that stated smoke and flames were visible.
Emergency crews arrived on the scene and reported fire coming from the rear of a building.
“Two mobile homes that they had put together and they were using it as a church,” said Daniel Byrne, Asst. Fire Chief of the BFD. “There was already heavy fire coming from the mobile home when we arrived. The roof started to come in already.”
According to BFD, a man identified as the maintenance man for the church said he had set up four portable heaters in the structure last evening in preparation for Sunday’s services.
“It was probably running for 12 hours or longer and that was just enough to overheat that extension cord,” Byrne said.
The fire was brought under control and took over an hour to completely extinguish. The church was heavily damaged, but no one was hurt.
Burton fire investigators and Beaufort County Sheriff’s deputies investigated the fire, which was determined to have been caused by an extension cord that was supplying power to the four portable heaters and had become overloaded.
“Running space heaters that are not running continuously but running for long periods of time,” Byrne said. “The electrical cord will eventually break down. It’s not a question of if you’re going to have a fire, it’s a question of when.”
Burton fire officials caution residents and business owners that extension cords should not be used as permanent wiring or for supplying electrical appliances that run for several hours or days at a time.
“The big thing is, is three feet. Don’t put it up next to your sofas or your beds or your bed linens or your recliners or anything that will burn,” Byrne said. “Plug it directly into a wall socket, don’t run it through an extension cord.”
The Burton Fire District has responded to over 30 reported fires so far in 2023.