A fire has left a Lowcountry business in a melted mess.
Firefighters were called to Unique Cuts on Jennings road in Beaufort just after 9:30 Sunday morning after an employee coming to work discovered massive fire damage inside the shop.
Antoine and Sabrina Milledge have worked to build this business for the last nine years. They say walking in Sunday morning was devastating.
“It was heart wrenching. It was something i could never imagine in a million years,” said Antoine Milledge, Owner of Unique Cuts. “walking into a place that you pretty much built from the ground up, closed down Saturday evening, come in Sunday morning and see it all black and charred and cooked.”
Burton firefighter Daniel Byrne says an employee who came to work Sunday morning discovered what was left.
“The fire burned for a little while and took out all the oxygen in the building but generated enough heat to cause some heat damage and smoke damage throughout the building,”
“The fire burned for a little while and took out all the oxygen in the building but generated enough heat to cause some heat damage and smoke damage throughout the building.” explained Byrne.
Byrne also believes she, and firefighters were lucky they didn’t come earlier.
“If that employee had come at the wrong time when the fire was still in its active stage or firefighters had made entry at 2am because someone had seen smoke, opening that door and introducing that oxygen we could have had a different outcome.”
That outcome, a potentially deadly backdraft. Something like you see in the movies or in rare situations around the world.
Byrne says this blaze with less flame.. but more heat is also a lesson for anyone who thinks they can outlast the smoke.
“Humans need 21% oxygen to live fires can burn with as little as 4-6% oxygen,” explains Byrne. “So essentially a fire will outlive you inside a building.”
“Fire consumes the oxygen in a building. Most often people who die in a fire die of suffocation, a lack of oxygen or the toxic chemicals produced by the fire.”
“The lack of oxygen causes hypoxia, which cause them to be disoriented, its a lot like being under the influence of alcohol, so thats why we will find people who actually walked away from the exits, the opposite direction, actually walk toward the fire room.”
“You find children under beds and in closets because they hide, you find adults in main hallways because they were trying to find their way but they were disoriented.”
Byrne says a fire alarm or sprinkler system may have saved much of what was inside. Something all local businesses and homeowners should look into, he says.
But the Milledges aren’t looking back, they had a contractor here today and are already taking customers Tuesday at their Parris Island Gateway location.