Officials: No fatalities from human-caused Carolina Forest Fire

Investigation determines fire was set, some residents return to homes

CAROLINA FOREST, SC (WMBF) – After a media briefing with the governor on Monday, officials indicated they're a few steps closer to knowing what sparked the Carolina Forest Fire that left most of a community without homes.

When Governor Haley, emergency responders and state representatives stepped in front of the microphones at the press conference Monday afternoon, they were prepared to not only brief the media and the public with the latest details, but praise the ones who ended the tragic situation before it got worse.

Governor Haley began her remarks by recalling what she saw flying over the charred remains of Windsor Green. The fire jumped over roads, leaping from building to building and she seemed astonished by the sheer power of the flames, fed by a roaring wind and flammable materials.

"It is unbelievable how they stopped that fire," Governor Haley says, speaking of the many first responders who risked their lives for the families who called Windsor Green home.

Speaking directly to those affected the worst by the blaze, Governor Haley said, "I want to tell the victims I am so sorry."

She then continued in praise of the men and women who leapt to their rescue, which were there at the right time to save so many lives. "God had his hand on us. Horry County is blessed."

"I am more than pleased to see how well everyone is working together. What your community has done is fantastic," Haley boosts.

Next at the microphone was Horry County Police Chief Rhodes, who delivered the news that all residents of Windsor Green have now been accounted for. She says the pace of the search will likely slow now that each person has been located, and well.

She then thanked the people who lost it all, saying "The victims have been very understanding. We appreciate your patience. We are here for you."

The fire chief for Horry County Fire Rescue said, "It was a tragic night for a community of people and there are never words that can make that ok."

He continued to say what forestry officials later confirmed. After ruling out all other causes they determined the fire sparked from some human intervention, and have ruled out campfire as a cause.

The fire, they say, sparked in a 15x15 area behind the Windsor Green area.

The rapid spread of the fire was due mostly to high winds, and building construction.

Tune in to WMBF News for the latest developments on this investigation in to the cause of the Carolina Forest Fire, what the community is doing to help the victims and how the residents of Windsor Green are starting over after losing their homes.

WMBF News Reporter Erika Gonzalez is LIVE throughout WMBF News Today with the latest on what's happening in Day 3 of the fire investigation. Also, hear from folks impacted by the 2009 Horry County Wildfire and the words of wisdom they have for the victims who are going through the same emotions they did years ago. Watch LIVE from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. 

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