Up to 100 exotic birds were killed Monday morning when several buildings at an Awendaw breeding business caught fire, officials said.
Crews with the Awendaw-McClellanville Consolidated Fire District were called to Delorce's Bird Barn, 1390 Guerins Bridge Road, around 4 a.m.
The business is home to 200 to 300 birds from 15 different species, according to firefighters.
When crews arrived, flames were coming from the roof of the main building where the birds are housed — a two-story, masonry structure. A second building was also on fire.
Firefighters shuttled water to the scene from the closest hydrant a mile away. They extinguished the blaze within 40 minutes.
Charleston County sheriff's deputies and EMS assisted in trying to save the birds, but officials believe that between 80 and 100 died in the fire. Once the fire was out, firefighters rescued two birds that were trapped.
The surviving birds are being cared for by the owner with assistance from animal protection services in Charleston County and Mount Pleasant, according to the fire department. The Center for Birds of Prey has also offered to help care for the birds.
Owner Delorce Bennett declined to comment when reached by phone Monday. Her business' Facebook page states she's been breeding exotic birds for more than 37 years.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.