Second person dies from burns after fire at Murrells Inlet condo

Riverwood Condos apartment complex. Source: WMBF News
Riverwood Condos apartment complex. Source: WMBF News
Fire crews gather after fire is under control. Source: WMBF News
Fire crews gather after fire is under control. Source: WMBF News

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - A second person has died at a burn center after a fire at Riverwood Condos complex on Lotus Court in Murrells Inlet Saturday, officials confirmed.

Georgetown County Coroner Kenny Johnson identified the first victim as 72-year-old John Long of Murrells Inlet. Long was one of two people pulled out of condo by fire crews. He died at a burn center in Georgia from multiple organ failure due to injuries from fire.

The second victim, 56-year-old Andrew Hildebrandt, died Tuesday morning at the Augusta Burn Center in Georgia. Hildebrandt died from multi-organ system failure at about 10:34 a.m. Tuesday.

Crews responded to the fire shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday morning after neighbors called 911 to report signs of smoke.

Two people had to jump out of a second story window to escape the fire. Assistant Fire Chief J.R. Haney with Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire Rescue said the couple was sleeping in the bedroom when a smoke detector woke them up. Unable to get out of the bedroom, the couple had to launch themselves from the window.

However, two others remained in the burning building when crews got on scene, Assistant Fire Chief Haney confirms. Firefighters described the dark conditions inside the condo, saying they had to feel their way through the rooms because it was hard to see through the thick smoke.

Assistant Fire Chief Haney said those two men, Long and Hildebrandt, were pulled from the building by emergency responders, and appeared to be in critical condition. Their bodies were covered in burns and both men suffered cardiac arrest. The men were transported to a burn center in Georgia for treatment, where they later died.

The couple that jumped from the window was brought to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation and injuries sustained from the fall.

Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire Rescue credits the smoke detector for saving the couple's life. The department reminds the public that firefighters will come to your house to inspect and install smoke detectors, for free.

Murrells Inlet-Garden City fire crews were in command of the fire, but aid from multiple crews, including Horry County Fire and Rescue and Midway Fire responded.

The fire was contained to one apartment in the complex, located at 4322 Lotus Court.

Officials are working with SLED to determine the cause of the fire, Chief Haney confirmed.

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