Fire department investigating suspicious porch fire

Charleston firefighters are investigating a suspicious porch fire this weekend that may be connected to a string of suspected arsons that have plagued downtown in recent years.

Firefighters responded to 258 St. Philip St. at 3:20 a.m. and found the second-floor porch on fire. The blaze had extended into the attic, according to Mark Ruppel, public information officer for the department.

A neighbor alerted the first-floor residents and helped them out of the home, Ruppel said. A second-floor resident also made it out safely.

Ruppel said the fire is under investigation but that it shares similarities with other suspicious porch fires.

The fire department is asking residents to:

• Keep outside porch lights turned on.

• Remove debris from your porch including porch furniture, garbage cans and other items that may be used as fuel for a fire.

• Keep shrubs and bushes trimmed.

• Board up vacant properties to limit access.

• Check smoke detectors monthly.

• Report any suspicious activity immediately.