Two-alarm fire displaces 20 from Carolina Forest apartment building

20 displaced after fire at a Carolina Forest apartment building
20 displaced after fire at a Carolina Forest apartment building(WMBF)
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 5:33 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 23, 2022 at 6:19 PM EDT

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Twenty people are without homes after a two-alarm fire broke out at a Carolina Forest apartment building Friday morning.

Horry County Fire Rescue said crews responded around 1:30 a.m. to the building in the River Oaks Condos, off River Oaks Drive.

Nine units in one building are damaged and two other buildings have heat damage. HCFR said paramedics treated one person at the scene but did not take anyone to the hospital. Two cats died as a result of the blaze.

Gail Tanner said if it wasn’t for her dog, she wouldn’t have known what was going on.

“My dog started barking... and I tried to keep her quiet and when I sat up in bed I saw out my dining room window was bright orange,” Tanner described. “I jumped out of bed, grabbed the dog’s leash and out of the unit.”

Tanner said her home has some damage, but didn’t suffer nearly as much as her other neighbors. She said she’s thankful that no one was seriously hurt.

“Unfortunately there was a lot of damage. This building is totally destroyed and a lot of people lost everything. But, I’m thankful that at least there were no serious injuries,” Tanner said.

Photos from the scene later Friday show the building charred from the fire with most of the roofing gone.

Witnesses told WMBF News reporter Ale Espinosa that they believe the fire started after someone threw a cigarette into a bush, but the exact cause remains under investigation.

WMBF News reached out to Horry County Fire Rescue to get information on the response to the fire, such as how many firefighters responded, how long it took to get under control, etc., but Horry County Fire Rescue wouldn’t provide us that information.

The Red Cross of South Carolina opened cases to provide immediate financial assistance to support the impacted families’ needs such as shelter, food and clothing. The organization is also providing mental and spiritual care for those who need it.

Stay with WMBF News for updates.