Fire destroys Summerville-area house
SUMMERVILLE --- Bill Cannell escaped his rapidly burning home Tuesday but was injured trying to go back inside to rescue three pet Yorkies, his neighbors said.
Cannell was reportedly dissuaded by neighbors from entering the 424 Crestwood Drive home as flames fully engulfed it and a series of loud explosions were heard.
Several Crestwood subdivision residents, including Jessie Scott of 118 Crestwood Drive, said they heard someone telling Cannell the rescue was far too dangerous. “He said, ‘No man, you’re not going in there’,” Scott recalled.
Neighbors said two of dogs apparently died in the fire and a third was last seen running in a panic down the street.
Cannell was treated at a hospital for minor burns and cuts and contusions after the fire which began just after 2 p.m. A search was on for the dog later in the day.
The explosions heard as the home went up in flames are linked to flammables, including oxygen and acetylene fuel tanks, stored at the home, Old Fort Fire Capt. Hans Benton said. He said investigators are seeking the cause of the fire. The Ashley River Fire Department joined Old Fort at the scene, he said.
Cannell and his wife, Sandy, have lived in the home for some 20 years and currently were sharing it with an adult son, according to neighbors. The fire rendered the home and a car parked nearby blackened rubble.
Neighbors who described Cannell as “kind of a Jack of all trades” said he kept several types of machinery and fuels for them on hand. Several neighbors had different opinions as to where the fire began, but all said it quickly erupted throughout the home.
Wilbur Tindall, who lives next door to the Cannell residence, said he saw Cannell pull something out of the garage as the fire seemed to spread from the garage. Tindall’s home lost some siding to the intense heat of the nearby blaze.
Stephanie Welch of Cottonwood Drive said she first saw flames at the back of the Cannell house. “I have never seen a house go up so fast. In seconds it was fully involved,” she said, adding she heard “about nine big ka-booms.”
Welch said she saw a dog flee the fire scene but didn’t realize until later it was one of the Cannell’s pets.
Jessie Scott and her husband, Wendell Scott both said the intensity of the fire surprised them.
“It burned so fast it was unreal. I have never seen anything like that,” Jessie said. She said she first saw smoke and flames on the porch and side of the home, “and all of a sudden” it was everywhere.
Wendell Scott said he peered towards the Cannell residence after hearing “some cracking and popping,” and after getting closer, “I heard someone holler, ‘Don’t go back in. Get out, get out!’” Scott said.
The Red Cross was assisting the family, and 11-year-old Tabatha Doetsch of Crestwood Drive was heard telling her parents, William and Chandra Doetsch, of her desire to gather food, blankets, clothing and furniture for the family that lost their home and its contents.
Tabatha said she would ask friends and neighbors, and her Girl Scout Troop 759 to help. Her parents said anyone who wants to help can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.