"The Flames Were Rising, Jumping From Tree to Tree"

8:18 PM, Sep 13, 2013   |    comments
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W. Columbia (WLTX) -- Thursday night multiple fire crews were on the scene at Granby Oaks Apartment Complex where a four alarm fire forced eight people out of their home.

"My wife kept screaming, yelling 'Dan, Dan, Dan! There's a huge fire, it exploded!,'" resident Dan Smith said.

Dan Smith has seen better days at Granby Oaks Apartments. He's been living there for 39 years.

But, last night he feels he could've been homeless.

"I ran out back and I saw a big explosion behind me and it must have been 20 feet in the air," Smith said. "The flames were rising and were jumping from one tree to another on top of the tree. I got my hose out, I was worried about the tree behind us, so close to the house."

After 8 p.m. last night, Smith says he and his wife had to get out of their apartment.

"The police man came and he almost dragged me out of the apartment," Smith said. "He said, 'You've got to get out of here, now. This thing is going to continue. It's a roaring inferno.'"

Smith had to wait outside until about midnight, but he wasn't the only one who was up.

"Long night, yeah," Donna Spigner said.

Spigner with the Red Cross and six volunteers helped residents until 1:30 in the morning.

"It was amazing the number of people, firefighters, police officers, it was just a scene of complete devastation. And kind of shock," Spigner said.

But it's usually during the worst of times, people pull together and become a true community.

"Everybody's patting each other on the back and a lot of hugs going on. And you cannot believe what a hug does in the time of tragedy. I believe in hugs. We'll be all right," Smith said.

You can make a donation or volunteer with the Central South Carolina Red Cross at www.RedCross.org/sc/columbia


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