Arson suspected in major Columbia fire

Arson is now suspected in a major fire that did more than $500,000 worth of damage to a three-story apartment building on Broad River Road.

“It’s arson,” said Deputy Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins.

No one was hurt in the fire, which has forced a dozen people to be dependent on charity given by the local American Red Cross.

Of the 12 apartments in the three-story building at 3430 Broad River Road, seven were occupied when the fire broke out Sunday evening.

It took almost two hours for 35 Columbia firefighters from six fire stations - as well as additional firefighters from Irmo - to subdue the blaze, Jenkins said.

The fire started about 8:30 p.m. Sunday and wasn’t under control until 10:16 p.m. that night, Jenkins said.

The building suffered fire, smoke and water damage, and its roof was burned up, Jenkins said.

A nearby apartment building was also damaged, as well as the complex’s office.

The American Red Cross was on the scene, offering aid to the displaced.

As of Monday afternoon, the organization had spent more than $3,000 in direct financial services. The money went to hotel rooms, comfort kits, clothes, food and life sustaining medications.