3 injured, including infant, after home explosion, fire in Pin Point community
CHATHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Three people were injured in a house fire in the Pin Point community in Chatham County on Monday morning.
It happened near the intersection of Ferguson Avenue and Diamond Causeway on Pin Point Avenue.
According to Chatham Emergency Services (CES), three people were taken to the hospital. Two people were critically injured. The ages of the three injured were 45 years old, 14 years old, and 4 months old, according to CES. All three have been taken to the burn unit in Augusta.
Fire units responded just after 7 a.m. Monday to the residence on Pin Point Avenue. According to CES, the fire started after an explosion.
The cause of the blast is under investigation.
The neighbors and family we’ve talked to say the explosion happened before 6 a.m. and the fire burned for well over an hour before firefighters got here a little before 7:30.
The tight knit community in Pin Point was out here to see if they could help in anyway, and we spoke with a few of them about what they saw Monday morning.
“We heard a big boom like it shook, kind of shook our house it was so, so we came outside to see was it a tree,” said next door neighbor Carolyn Hendley.
She quickly realized it was actually a fire and took video. Others knew what it was immediately, but weren’t sure which home was burning.
“I see the house was on flames I seen the flames all the way from Diamond Causeway, so I’m wondering whose house was on fire in my neighborhood. So I turned on the street and I seen my older cousin in the middle of the street dialing 911 as the house was on flames. I ain’t never seen flames on house so high before like this, my first time ever seeing a fire like that,” said Bradley Wingster.
This is how Chatham EMS described the severity of the damage.
“We got on scene and we found the house completely involved. It appears there was some type of explosion. As you look around the ground here, you’ll see windows and glass blown into the street, the cars that were in the driveway were melted and damaged,” said CEO of Chatham EMS Chuck Kearns.
You can see what Kearns is talking about - a car in the driveway shows just how big that fire and explosion must’ve been because of how much the car is melted, and as we walked through the yard, you could see the glass and window frames all over.
A GoFundMe account has been setup to help the family.
Trouble getting through to 911
Family and others in the neighborhood say they had serious issues getting through to 911. They say they think if the response was quicker, the damage you see behind me might be less.
“My mother walked up and down the street getting people to call 911 and yelling for help and 911 never answered. Continuously for about an hour people were calling 911 and finally around 7 o’clock 911 finally answered and started dispatching,” said family member Lazarus Townsend.
“The house been on fire, and I called 911 and they never answered. I call about 10 times on my phone, and they never answered. I don’t know what happened,” said family member Charles Anderson.
We also talked to Chatham EMS, they said they’re not the ones who answer 911 calls and they responded as soon as they were notified by 911 dispatchers. Chatham EMS CEO Chuck Kearns said they were notified of the fire at 7:09 a.m. and they got out here as soon as possible.
WTOC has reached out to Chatham County officials about what community members told us regarding their 911 calls. Chatham County Manager Lee Smith talked to WTOC in August about the e-911 call center and the staffing issues it was facing at that time.
Part of the staffing issues in August were COVID-related, but also due to the 911 center being down 20 dispatchers.
Even with those open positions, County Manager Lee Smith said they were still able to staff all the phones. Chatham County leaders also said non-emergency calls to the e-911 center were a problem and tying up lines in August.
WTOC is expecting to get updated information on the 911 center on Tuesday from the county manager.
Copyright 2021 WTOC. All rights reserved.