FLORENCE, S.C. — The home of Art Fields patron and major USC donor Darla Moore was heavily damaged by fire on Saturday.
Moore, who was home at the time, was able to safely escape the fire as did her dogs, all with the assistance of her security detail.
South Lynches Fire Rescue firefighters responded at 11:29 to the report of a structure fire at 1 Pine Bay Road in Florence County and arrived to find heavy smoke and fire visible from the center of the residence, according to information from South Lynches Fire Chief Robbie Steele.
Steele called for a second alarm on the fire and received mutual aid from surrounding departments.
Firefighters and equipment from Clarendon County, Olanta Fire Rescue, Howe Springs Fire Rescue and Williamsburg County responded along with medics from Florence and Williamsburg counties EMS.
Firefighters were supported on the scene by Florence County Sheriff T.J. Joye and sheriff’s deputies.
Steele said it took firefighters about 30 minutes to control the blaze and, as of 2:17 p.m., firefighters were still working overhaul of the home and extinguishing hot spots.
The fire never broke through the roof of the home.
Published reports indicate the 6,200-square-foot family home was built in 1918.
Firefighters used water from a hydrant in front of the home along with water drafted from a pond behind the house.
A fire official said the point of origin was a room in the center of the house and while the exact cause remains undetermined the fire was not suspicious.
The fire came a month after the death of Moore’s mother, Lorraine Moore, who died April 1 at 89 years old.
Moore’s property, home to the family for six generations, is also home to Moore Farms Botanical Garden, which has become home to many cultural events, including a wine stroll, plant sale, beer festival, Halloween and Christmas festivals.
Agencies involved and their response were:
South Lynches sent five engines, a ladder truck, a rescue truck and 30 firefighters
Olanta Fire Rescue sent two engines and five firefighters
Howe Springs Fire Rescue sent one engine and three firefighters
Williamsburg County sent five firefighters
Clarendon County sent equipment and firefighters