HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – House fires in the surrounding areas are displacing dozens of families every week. According to the Red Cross, that number is up significantly compared to last year.
On average, the Red Cross says they are helping 50 people a month. That is up 40 percent compared to this time last year.
"The fire at Windsor Green isn't the reason this number is increasing," says Spokesperson for the local Red Cross Nanci Conley.
Since the day a blaze tore through the neighborhood in Carolina Forest on March 16, an additional 30 fires have displaced neighbors in other areas of our county.
While the Conley does not have an exact reason behind the increase, she is concerned for the high number.
"It's not just the physical loss these families have to deal with. Sometimes, it's even harder on them emotionally," Conley explains.
The Pryor family is currently dealing with the heartbreak over losing their home after a faulty electrical outlet started a fire in their home off of Hwy 544 on Sunday evening. Laura Pryor says her two children were inside when they smelled smoke.
"Their father immediately told them to get out of the house. He ran into the room to try to put out the flames…but by that time, it was too late," says Laura, who was at work when the fire started.
The malfunctioning outlet was too close to the futon in her daughter's room, and it quickly caught on fire, according to Pryor and her family.
Pryor's husband Ricky was inside the home when firefighters arrived on scene.
"Never go back into a home once it is burning," warns Captain Brian McGarrahan with Horry County Fire Rescue.
Capt. McGarrahan says the best way to protect your family is to check smoke detectors, clear your gutters and test your outlets. Testers can be bought to check for any complicated wiring issues.
Plus, you always want to have a plan.
"Have a spot in your yard that everyone knows to go to, a meeting spot," suggests Capt. McGarrahan.
The Pryors say they will be making a plan in case they ever have another fire. Laura says it could have been a lot worse, because her husband was checking the rooms to make sure their children got out safely.
"Material things can be replaced, but you can never replace your family," she says.
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