At 6:34 p.m., the North Augusta Department of Public Safety was called to the home in the 500 block of West Pine Grove Avenue to douse the flames, Sgt. Kevin Hayes said.
Julian McKie, 65, said he was attempting to light the burner on his propane grill in his living room when the grill tipped and lit the mattress.
After failing to put out the flames himself, McKie said, he fled the house. He had lived there for more than 30 years, and was happy to be alive.
“That’s the best thing about it,” he said. “You can replace a house. You can’t replace a life.”
Ronnie Boseman, who lives nearby, said he had just taken a few steps outside of his house when he noticed something a bit odd.
“I walked around the corner and the entire North Augusta fire department was there,” he said. “The flames were pretty tall. Not taller than the trees, but huge.”
As firefighters worked their way through the charred structure, they removed at least six propane tanks that had been inside. Hayes said one was “hissing” when firefighters found it, but none of the tanks exploded.