Apartment complex fire on King George Boulevard - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Building destroyed as fire raged at Crown Villa Apartments

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Firefighters are still working to put out hot spots after a fire completely destroyed an apartment building at the Crown Villa Apartments on King George Boulevard.

Southside Assistant Fire Chief Hugh Futrell said the fire had been smoldering in the walls and attic of the building for at least an hour before tenants knew anything was wrong.

Firefighters arrived just as the roof of the building collapsed. It took 50 of them a half hour to get the blaze under control, and it's still smoldering.

"When our guys got on the scene, the roof just ignited," said Futrell. "It looked like it had been burning for a while in the walls and in the attic."

Doug McGarity discovered the fire and called 911, but he didn't realize how serious it was until he tried to run back inside to grab clothes.

"By the time I got upstairs again, I couldn't see. The smoke was that heavy, it was burning my eyes," he said. "I couldn't see. I did manage to get to the dresser. I got my car keys off the dresser."

The building is a total loss and half a dozen families have lost their homes and belongings.

Luckily no one was injured.

Rachel Aldinger, owner of Rachel's 1190, said the restaurant, which is located across the street from the apartment complex, will be taking donations for the families displaced by the fire.

They will be taking monetary donations, as well as toys, clothing or personal care items.

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