Suspect arrested, charged with 21 counts of arson in connection to Ocean Creek Resort fire

Suspect arrested, charged with 21 counts of arson in connection to Ocean Creek Resort fire
Firefighters respond to a massive fire on Ocean Creek Drive in North Myrtle Beach (Sources: Horry County Fire and Rescue, WMBF)

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Police have a suspect behind bars Sunday after they say the man set fire to a North Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

An HCPD spokesperson says James Clark Rusenko, 32, has been charged with 21 counts of second degree arson for his role in the blaze.

Rusenko is currently being held at J. Reuben Long detention center with no bond.

Horry County Fire and Rescue say 21-units of Lodge 1 at the Ocean Creek Resort were engulfed by the fire however, no one was injured in the blaze.

According to the police report, multiple witnesses reported to authorities on the Ocean Creek Boulevard scene they believed the fire to be intentional.

Investigators were called to the scene and Rusenko was identified as a suspect, the report says. Authorities say the three-alarm fire took 82 responding firefighters from 3 different agencies to battle.

Witnesses on scene tell WMBF News that an ongoing conference will continue despite the fire displacing many of those attending.

Outstanding work last night by Horry County Fire Rescue crews on the fire in Ocean Creek. This situation could have been much worse and we are thankful that all signs indicate everyone made it through with no serious injuries. This scene was another example of how well our local departments work together to handle big emergencies. (Video quickly taken as first attack line was in place off of HCFR Engine 7 and awaiting water)

Posted by North Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue on Saturday, February 23, 2019

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