Several fires kept crews busy on New Year’s Day

(From: Tony Priester, Columbus Fire Chief)

(WSPA) – An Upstate woman is dead after a house fire Monday morning. It was one of several fires in our area New Year’s Day.

“When I first looked out – of course you couldn’t help see all the trucks and everything,” said Danny Robinson. “I couldn’t see any flames but the smoke was real bad.”

All those fire trucks were at a home across from Danny Robinson’s off Shoally Ridge Drive in Boiling Springs. Crews got the call around 3:30 a.m.

The Cherokee Springs fire chief tells us one person made it out of the home but the other didn’t. The Spartanburg County coroner says Mildred Inez Skinner was found dead inside the home. She was 78 years old.

“She’s been here over 20 something years,” said Robinson. “If she saw a car here she didn’t recognize, she’d call or make mention of it. We’re really going to miss her.”

We’re told the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office and Spartanburg County Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the fire.

Later that morning, the North Spartanburg Fire District was battling a fire that destroyed a home on West Lake Drive. Fire officials tell 7 News it started in the bedroom and has been ruled accidental but there’s no exact cause yet.  

In Columbus, the fire department got to Bill’s Cabinet Store Monday morning to find flames shooting through the roof.

“It’s a cabinet making business – been here over 50 years,” said Columbus Fire Chief Tony Priester.

He says the materials inside the building were a challenge, causing the fire to rekindle hours later.

And with ice forming from the water they’re using he said the cold has been tough even for their crews.

“Once the fire is out and we’re doing the mop up stage we get cold because we’d been sweating and then also from the cold,” said Priester.

He says they believe the business fire started from an oil furnace heater.

“Have your heaters, fireplaces, chimneys, and all that checked – make sure there’s no blockage there and everything’s working good,” Chief Priester advised.

The other two in the Upstate New Year’s Day happened on Arthur Boulevard in Union and on Daniel Road in Hodges.

The Red Cross actually responded to 20 home fires across South Carolina this New Year’s weekend.

Fire officials advise ensuring that smoke alarms are functioning, and if not, contact your local fire department about getting one for free. Also, be sure to check on elderly or those with medical conditions to ensure they have heat.

To learn more about home fire safety, visit websites for the Red Cross, North Spartanburg Fire District, Cherokee Springs Fire Department, or Columbus Fire District.