Fire damages airport hangar

  • A firefighter inspects the damage caused to one plane by a fire on Tuesday at Barnwell Regional Airport. Five planes were destroyed or heavily damaged. Two others were not impacted.

A fire in a main hangar of the Barnwell Regional Airport heavily damaged the structure and five planes.

Seven aircraft were inside the hangar at the time of the blaze. Three were destroyed while two more will likely be totaled, said P.F. Beck, chairman of the airport commission. Two others were not damaged as they were in the other end of the hangar.

Shortly after 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 911 dispatch toned out firefighters from Barnwell Rural, Hilda and Long Branch fire departments. Responders reported flames, explosions and heavy smoke which poured out of the building. Barnwell Rural Fire Chief Jessie Elmore said firefighters had to “break into each hangar unit because the fire distorted the metal so much.”

Emergency personnel indicated the fire was under control within an hour of the first call but were still securing all aspects of the scene.

The airport is located off U.S. Highway 278.

EMS and Emergency Preparedness also responded, but no injuries were reported.

No one was inside the hanger at the time of the fire and “none of the planes had been flown in several days,” said Elmore. The planes were privately owned and the owners were renting space in the hanger.

The cause of the fire is under investigation as the State Law Enforcement Division has been called in to “try to figure out what happened,” said Elmore.

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control was called in over worries fuel could have leaked outside, but the scene was cleared, said Elmore.