Richard and Donna Sweat had time only to grab a cellphone and a few pieces of clothing before jumping from their bedroom window in a fire at their mobile home in Summerville Thursday morning.
Firefighters were dispatched to the home on Knotty Pine Drive, which is off Central Avenue, about 5 a.m., according to Old Fort Assistant Chief William Sullivan. The home sits at the end of a cul-de-sac in the Chestnut Acres subdivision.
The couple made it out safely and no one was injured in the blaze, Sullivan said.
The exterior of the home appeared sturdy from the steps of its fenced-in front porch, but the view from the front door told a different story.
The mobile home suffered heavy smoke damage, with the blaze gutting much of the structure’s left side.
The fire appeared to have ignited in a utility room at the home’s rear, Richard Sweat said. Flames blew through a back door in the room, singeing the wooden deck beyond its frame.
The fire took more than an hour to contain, Sullivan said. Dorchester County Fire and Rescue helped put out the flames, he said.
After the fire was extinguished, the Sweats sat in their front yard and waited for American Red Cross volunteers to arrive.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do. We’re homeless now,” Donna Sweat said.
The couple had lived at the home for more than 30 years, Donna Sweat said. She cradled in her arms her “baby,” a blind Chihuahua, that also escaped the flames.
Donna Sweat speculated about what could have caused the fire. A dryer in the utility room had been running when the fire started, she said, but wiring in the room also could be to blame.
The fire’s cause remains under investigation, Sullivan said.
Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908, or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.
Christina Elmore/staff This utility room is thought to have been where a fire started that damaged a mobile home in Summerville on Thursday.×
Christina Elmore/staff Flames poured out the door of the utility room of a Summerville mobile home on Knotty Pine Drive that was damaged by fire early on Thursday.×
Christina Elmore/staff Smoke damage can be seen inside a mobile home on Knotty Pine Drive in Summerville that was damaged by an early morning fire on Thursday.×
Christina Elmore/staff Firefighters quickly stopped a fire that began in a utility room of this mobile home in Summerville on Thursday.×