By Mr. Andrew R McIntyre (Jackson)July 25, 2012
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- A car's faulty fuel injection system was blamed in a garage fire in the Pierce Terrace housing area that left two families displaced on July 18.
Three Fort Jackson firefighters suffered minor injuries and were transported to Moncrief Army Community Hospital where they were treated and released for heat exhaustion and muscle cramps.
Fort Jackson Fire Department Chief Bill Forrester said the engine compartment of a car parked in a garage caught fire and spread. The fire began shortly after 4 p.m.
"There were minimal extensions of the fire into the kitchen and very minimal smoke and (other) damage to the conjoining apartments," said Forrester, who credited the quick response of the firefighters in keeping the fire from spreading and causing further damage.
Fort Jackson firefighters were on the scene within five minutes of getting the call. The duty assistant chief of the day, John Engle, called for Columbia Fire Department assistance while en route to the fire.
Forrester also praised the quick action of a neighbor, who called 911 soon after the fire broke out, which prevented worse damage.
"I looked outside my window. I happened to see the black smoke coming out the garage. As soon as I saw the garage door open, I saw the fire and my first thought were the babies, the children in the house," said Christina Perry, who placed the 911 call.
Residents of the two housing units affected were not home at the time of the fire. The fire was under control 18 minutes after the Fort Jackson firefighters were on the scene, Forrester said.
The displaced families can expect to receive new housing by mid to late August, said Emma Watson, Housing Division chief.
"We have contacted the mayors of that housing area to find out what the families may need from us or Balfour Beatty (Communities). In addition, they have come together to provide assistance to the families while they have been placed in temporary housing," Watson said. Col. Michael Graese, garrison commander, praised the efforts and initiative of the civilian workforce in helping the affected Soldiers and their families.
"I find it incredibly compelling and encouraging knowing that the Fort Jackson team was out there taking care of the Soldiers and the families and everybody else who was in the area," Graese said.
He said the assistance of the Columbia Fire Department was a totally seamless effort, and relationships like that are important for the health, safety and welfare of all on the installation.
An appreciation ceremony is scheduled Aug. 4 on behalf of the Soldiers and their families to express their gratitude to the Fort Jackson Fire Department.