Family says plantation home burned to the ground during 9-1-1 outage

Photos and video by Chris Briggs

A historic home on Lady's Island was severely damaged by fire Sunday night.

The family that owns it says it took the fire department almost two hours to get there because of the outage affecting the 9-1-1 system in Beaufort County Sunday night.

The five bedroom, six bathroom home on Pleasant Point Drive in Beaufort was engulfed in flames shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday.

The family was home at the time; they said the fire started in the attic.

"9-1-1 service wasn't answering the phone," said the homeowners' daughter, Gracie Guest.

The family had to call friends in Pooler for help notifying local fire officials.

"We had to call some of our friends who knew people who worked at the fire station. And it finally took an hour and a half for them to get here," said Guest.

According to the St. Helena Fire District, the fire was caused by a lightning strike. Firefighters received a call from dispatch at 5:41 p.m. They arrived on scene at 5:51 p.m.

Fire officials also said the fire hydrant's water pressure and amount of water were both too low. They notified Beaufort Jasper Water Authority who fixed the issue a couple of hours later.

Family members said they didn't think the house was going to burn like it did.

"Better if we had known that, like, it would have burned to the ground because then we would have gotten, like, all of our clothes and stuff out. But honestly, we thought they would get it under control," said Guest.

Neighbors said the house was iconic. Some said they would even drive their boats to the house just to admire it.

One neighbor said the neighborhood lost a piece of history.

"Basically, got a very old and historic beautiful house on a beautiful location that is now just gone. It'll never be the same," said Paul Derrick.

According to Zillow, the house was estimated to be worth $1,703,944. It was built in 1929.

After living in the house for close to ten years, the homeowners were about to put it on the market.

Firefighters were at the house for 12 hours. They could be seen sifting through what remained of the home on Monday.

As of Monday afternoon, the family was still searching for one of their cats that was in the home during the fire.

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