All Roger Marsh could do was stand on the side of Interstate 20 with his Australian shepherd Tuesday and watch his RV burn.
Marsh said he thought his 1977 Ford Econoline motorhome was overheating just east of exit 194 at Belair Road at about 2:20 p.m. He saw some smoke and pulled over to check the engine, but the hood was too hot to open, he said.
"We just started evacuating," Marsh said.
He was traveling from Roswell, N.M., to Charleston, S.C., with his wife, Ronda Odom, and two sons, Jesse, 4, and Caleb, 2, and the dog, Kola. No one was injured, though Marsh said he had trouble getting his barefoot 2-year-old out of the car seat quickly.
"Everybody is safe, that's the important thing," Odom said.
The family was relocating to Charleston for a potential job for Odom. They'd downsized and all their belongings were in the RV.
"Everything we had was in that RV," Odom said. "Today, when we lost everything, we lost everything."
Columbia County Fire Rescue personnel found the RV fully engulfed in flames. Emergency personnel stopped all eastbound traffic while the fire was extinguished.
The fire started in the engine compartment, but the cause is still being investigated, Batt. Chief James Burnett said.
A passerby called 911. Others rented the family a room at the nearby Red Roof Inn.
"Everybody here has been golden," Marsh said.
The American Red Cross was called in to assist the family.