90 years later: Camden marks historic fire anniversary at Fire Fest

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Fire trucks will fill the streets of Camden for the 18th Annual Fire Fest on Saturday.

The community event helps to spotlight fire safety and prevention and will also mark the 90th anniversary of the most deadly fire in state history.

Seventy-seven people were killed in a fire at the Historic Cleveland School in Kershaw County in May of 1923.

Because of the fire, many laws, building codes and fire safety regulations were passed nationwide.

"The Cleveland School Fire was such a large event and touched so many lives in this community that undoubtedly every time we have an event like this where we do a commemoration we meet new people that were someway involved or had family members that survived or family members that perished in the fire," said Chief John Bowers of the Camden Fire Department. "It's important for us to remember those that have died in such a tragedy."

Ninety years later, fire safety and prevention continues to take center stage in Camden and Kershaw County, and on Saturday firefighters will demonstrate just how dangerous a fire can be.

"We're doing a live burn at Fire Fest and it's going to be a mock up of a kitchen and the idea is to illustrate to folks how quickly fires can spread," said Chief Bowers. "We'll have some positive information during that event, so we can teach folks positive behaviors and what to do in the event that they have a kitchen fire."

The 18th Annual Fire Fest is free and is also a time for the community to celebrate. It will begin with a parade of fire trucks at 9am and will lead to Rhame Arena on Bull Street where there will be food, music and even skydivers.

There will also be a Battle of the Badges Blood Drive to benefit the Red Cross.

The event will end at 3pm. For more information call (803) 425-6042 or visit the Camden Fire Department Facebook Page.

Assistant Fire Chief Eddie Gardner sat down with News 10's Mary King live on Sunrise and the video of the interview is posted above.