9 Firefighters Die Fighting Fire - Web Only Story

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's governor has ordered state flags lowered to half staff in honor of the nine firefighters who died in a fire at a furniture warehouse in Charleston.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Charleston's mayor says arson is not suspected. He says the blaze apparently started in a storage area. He wasn't sure whether there were sprinklers in the building.

Witnesses say the collapse of the roof threw debris over about two-dozen rescue workers.

Two employees in the building were rescued from the blaze.

The mayor says to lose nine firefighters is "just a tragedy of immense proportions."

The department has 237 firefighters in 19 companies located throughout the city.


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