Large house destroyed by overnight fire on Kiawah Island

A fire that destroyed a large, multimillion-dollar house and injured two firefighters on Kiawah Island early Thursday likely was caused by lightning, investigators said.

The blaze was reported about 4 a.m. at 405 Ocean Oaks Court, a home on the eastern end of the Kiawah Island Golf Resort, according to Capt. James Ghi of the St. Johns Fire-Rescue.

The 3,800-square-foot house in the Osprey Beach community was valued at $2.4 million, according to the most recent property records available. It was not occupied at the time of the blaze.

“Units arriving on scene found a well-involved dwelling,” Ghi said. “Fire was coming through the roof.”

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries, and one was transported to a local hospital. Ghi would not discuss the nature of their injuries, but he said no one was burned.

Crews from the Charleston Fire Department and Charleston County EMS joined Johns Island firefighters at the scene.

Ghi said firefighters struggled to gain access to the house “because of the way the driveway is.”

The main living quarters were destroyed, and a detached garage was damaged, Ghi said.

The blaze came during a period of thunderstorm activity that brought frequent lightning and between 3 and 5 inches of rain throughout western Charleston County.

“We take everything into consideration,” he said. But there is “high probability the fire was due to a lightning strike.”

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or

Andrew Knapp is editor of the quick response team, which covers crime, courts and breaking news. He previously worked as a reporter and copy editor at Florida Today, Newsday and Bangor (Maine) Daily News. He enjoys golf, weather and fatherhood.