CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF) – Horry County Fire and Rescue officials confirm a fire began at about 5 p.m. Saturday in Carolina Forest as a brush fire and quickly spread to the Windsor Green housing complex, destroying or damaging 26 buildings.
On Monday morning, Horry County Police asked all residents in all phases of the Windsor Green subdivision to check in with them , whether affected by the fire or not. Residents who live in Windsor Green are asked to call 843-997-6970.
Carolina Forest Elementary School Principal Dennis Devorick sent a recording to students' families saying 7 students and 2 faculty members were affected by the fire. Classes commence Monday as normal, and guidance counselors will be on hand to speak to students and faculty members who wish to talk. There will also be a wishing well for students.
A Facebook post from Horry County Schools' page confirmed all Carolina Forest schools will be open on their normal schedule on Monday. Students who need school supplies,clothes, books etc should contact Caroline Chestnut with Horry County Schools at 843-488-6768.
All neighborhoods except Windsor Green have been reopened.
All buildings on Brite Water Court are a loss, all buildings on Twin Pond Court are a loss, and everything on Pond Shoals is a loss, except for building number 4929, Horry County official Lisa Bourcier said. On Crab Pond Court, unit 4931 has burned, and half of unit 4930.
Some buildings had four units, others as many as nine, Horry County officials said. In total, about 108 units were destroyed by the fire.
No single-family homes near those communities have been damaged, Bourcier said.
The American Red Cross is setting up a hotline number for people affected by the fire that need help. The number is: 843-477-0020. The shelter at Ocean Bay Middle school will close on Sunday and those needing shelter, food, water and clothing are asked to call the Red Cross.
On Sunday, ten search and rescue teams made up of county police and firefighters went through the Windsor Green community looking for possible victims. At this time, they have no reason to believe there are any, but not everyone has been accounted for.
Red Cross and Horry County Fire and Rescue officials are trying to get everyone accounted for by logging residents of Windsor Green by their building unit and name. Residents can also call 903-8420 to be accounted for.
On Sunday, residents of Windsor Green were able to go to Carolina Forest Elementary School and have crews escort them back to their burned and damaged units for necessary items. Residents were able to get what they needed and then they were escorted back out. Those living on the west side of the complex were able to go back home, but even were urged not to because the area is still considered dangerous. It could also pose a threat to those with respiratory issues.
The Horry County Fire Chief has issued a burn ban on all unincorporated areas of Horry County until further notice.
As of Monday at noon, the fire is contained, but there are still isolated hot spots that firefighters are working to fully extinguish, according to Horry County officials.
Horry County authorities said one Windsor Green resident had a heart attack and was transported to a nearby hospital. Three police officers were transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation. One firefighter was sent to the hospital earlier tonight as well, but there is no update on his condition.
Several local businesses have stepped up to assist displaced victims of the Carolina Forest Fire. The Quality Inn in Conway, next to El Patio, is offering discounted rates for displaced residents, and they do accept pets. Call 347-7254 for more information.
Ya Ya's Consignment in Conway has clothes available for women and girls. Anyone affected by the fire can call Donna Carrillo at 843-467-1991 – she will meet you at the shop or find a different ways to get clothes to fire victims.
When the fire first broke out, witnesses saw several residential areas and buildings in flames. they saw at least nine apartments were engulfed in flames and the first two streets in the Springs Lake subdivision were evacuated. A large plume of smoke was visible across the area.