USA — Firefighters tackle motel, brush fires as red alert issued
The Columbia-Richland and the Irmo fire departments responded to a fire Saturday afternoon at the Affordable Suites at 150 Stoneridge Drive.
And they put out a small brush fire off Shop Road near I-77 earlier in the day, battling wind and dry brush that fueled the flames.
There were no injuries reported in the Affordable Suites fire, which destroyed eight suites in a building. Suites in an adjacent building sustained some heat damage, Columbia-Richland fire department spokesman Brick Lewis said.
Five of the eight suites in the destroyed building had tenants at the time. Hotel management has moved all tenants in both buildings to other suites in the complex, Lewis said.
The cause and dollar amount of damage in the fire were undetermined Saturday.
Across the state, firefighters fought 64 fires Saturday, according to the S.C. Forestry Commission.
A combination of conditions on Friday prompted the commission to issue a red flag fire alert for the entire state of South Carolina until further notice. Wind gusts up to 30 mph, coupled with low humidity and warm temperatures create conditions ripe for the start and spread of wildfires, commission spokesman Scott Hawkins said.
While the state does not ban outdoor debris burns during a red flag alert, residents are encouraged to delay debris burning plans until conditions change and the alert is lifted.
Lexington County issued a ban on general debris burning in unincorporated areas of the county until further notice. Fires for cooking food for immediate consumption are OK, the Sheriffs Department said.