When he arrived back home Sunday morning around 8 a.m., Byron Hickam found his family home blackened by fire. He points inside a gaping hole in his house near his driveway.
"Actually, my bedroom was back there in the back when I was growing up," Hickam told ABC 17 News.
Columbia firefighters haven't decided what caused the fire that destroyed Hickam's house. Battalion Chief Jon Metz said firefighters responded to the fire around 3:30 a.m. Sunday. It took sixteen firefighters 20 minutes to put the fire out, and stayed there for almost three hours, according to a Columbia Fire Department news release. In the release, Metz called the house "uninhabitable." Hickam said he begrudgingly agreed.
"What hurts is that it was my mom and dad's," Hickam said. "I don't even look at the house as even being mine, it was my mom and dad's. You know, still to this day even though they were passed on, it's still their home."
Hickam said his father built the house in the 1960s. A spectator can see the shells of cars and rooms burned in the fire. Now, Hickam must pick through the pieces of what's left of the house and in his mind.
"Just stuff when we were growing up, when we were kids and stuff. Yeah, a lotta good memories," Hickam said.
The Columbia Fire Department estimated damage to be at about $65,000.