An unattended candle left on a third-floor balcony caused a blaze that forced evacuation of the more than 80 residents Wednesday from an assisted living facility in Columbia, fire officials said.
Firefighters took 90 minutes to bring the fire under control at the Forest Pines Retirement Center after it was reported about 1:30 a.m., officials said.
Damage to the three-story facility a few blocks east of Providence Hospitals is estimated at $1 million, Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said.
No one was injured but some of the eight residents taken to local hospitals suffered smoke inhalation, officials said.
The remaining residents went temporarily to the city-operated center at Martin Luther King Park near Five Points, later leaving with relatives, going to local hotels or moving to another assisted living facility in Lexington, officials said.
Officials at the facility were cleaning up debris and declined comment.
Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483