An overheated air conditioning unit caused a fire that displaced a woman and child from a house in North Charleston's Russelldale neighborhood early Thursday, firefighters said.

Crews were dispatched to 5125 Twitty St. at 1:20 a.m. and brought the flames under control in less than three minutes, Battalion Chief Eric Phillips said. There was severe damage to the kitchen at the single-family home and smoke damage throughout the interior.

Phillips said the local American Red Cross branch was providing emergency help to the woman and child who lived at the home.

Air conditioning was involved in an average of 2,200 home fires per year from 2002 to 2005, according to a fact sheet from the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association. Those fires caused an average of 16 deaths, 85 injuries and $54 million in property damage each year. Fifty-seven percent of the home air conditioning fires occurred during the summer months.