Charleston has been thrust in to the national spotlight again with a fire at the Sofa Super Store on Savannah Highway last night that has killed nine firefighters. Mayor Joe Riley said that it was the worst fire in his 30 years in office.

“In my time as mayor we have never had a fire like this. We’ve never lost a firefighter and to lose nine is a tragedy of immense proportions,” Riley said.

Firefighters created a hole in the back of the building and successfully got an employee out, Riley said, but other details regarding the fire and what specifically took the lives of the firemen will have to wait until an investigation. No arson is expected, he said.

“It’s a tragic reminder of their profession and what they’re willing to do every time they put on the badge,” Riley said.

Update: Post and Courier reports that Gov. Sanford has called for the lowering of state flags. The state House of Representatives has adjourned for the day in honor of the firefighters.

An audio slideshow is now up on the front page of

You can also find it here.

The National Fire Protection Association says it’s the deadliest firefight since 9/11.

City establishes Fireman’s Fund.

The names of the firefighters have been released.

Mayor Joe Riley is expected to hold another press conference at 4 p.m. at City Hall. We’ll be covering.

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