USA — A massive fire at a condo complex in the Carolina Forest Community of Horry County burned 26 buildings, and 109 housing units are considered a total loss.
Leslie Yancey with Horry County Fire Rescue says around 5 p.m. Saturday, firefighters were called to Windsor Green Condos, when a brush fire spread to a single-family home then spread to the condo buildings.
According to Horry County spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier, all buildings on Brite Water Court and Twin Pond Court are considered a loss. Everything on Pond Shoals is a loss, except for building number 4929 and on Crab Pond Court, unit 4931 has burned, and half of unit 4930 burned.
Spokesman Scott Hawkins with the South Carolina Forestry Commission said on Sunday SCFC determined the fire’s point of origin to be near some power lines. He also said that a debris burn has not been ruled out as a cause, but that it’s unlikely because “it would be rather obvious if it were the source.”
With wind gusts over 30 miles per hour Saturday and pine straw on the ground, the fire spread quickly.
“The conditions were perfect for the perfect storm of sorts,” Yancey added.
Police announced around 11:30 a.m. Sunday that residents that lived in buildings that were not a loss from the fire will be escorted in by police and allowed back into their homes.
Bourcier says no single-family homes near those communities have been damaged.
Sunday morning, more than a dozen Horry County police officers were on the scene and to conduct search efforts.
They are looking for victims who may not have made it out of their homes, Yancey said.
Red Cross is trying to account for everyone who lived at Windsor Green, according to Bourcier. This has been a challenging effort because many of the condos were rentals. It’s not clear how many were vacant, which were used as second homes, etc.
If you have not already checked in as a resident, you are asked to call 843-997-6970. You can also use this number to report lost pets and cars that may have been damaged in the fire. Have your vehicle identification number. You will need to provide your name and unit number at Windsor Green Condos.
Windsor Green residents affected by the fire were sent to Ocean Bay Middle School, where the Red Cross provided assistance to 167 people who have been displaced by the fire. That assistance took the form of shelter, food and emotional support, according to Nanci Conley with the American Red Cross. The shelter has provided 450 meals and 500 snacks and drinks to residents and first responders. Red Cross workers are also still on the scene providing food and hydration to first responders still working on the fire.
The shelter that has been set up at Ocean Bay Middle School will now be moved to Beach Church in Myrtle Beach. Ocean Bay Middle School’s shelter will be closed at 3 p.m. Sunday. Http://www.beachchurch.org/ They’re located at 557 George Bishop Parkway in Myrtle Beach.
The Red Cross set up a hotline for people who need assistance, call (843) 477-0020 if you need help.
The Red Cross is also accepting monetary donations at redcross.org, by calling 843-477-0020, or via mail at 3531 Pampas Drive, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29577.
Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue, Conway Fire, North Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue and Murrells Inlet Fire provided assistance in fighting the fire, Yancey said.
One firefighter was taken to the hospital for injuries but he’s in good condition, added Yancey.
Sgt. Robert Kegler with Horry County Police says three Horry County police officers were taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation on Saturday, but have since been released.
No other injuries have been reported at this time.
Neighborhoods that were previously blocked by emergency personnel have reopened, added Bourcier.
Horry County’s fire chief has issued a ban on all unincorporated areas of the county.
The South Carolina Forestry Commission has placed the entire state under a red flag fire alert because of current weather conditions.