Woman dies after house fire last week - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Woman dies after house fire last week

(Source: North Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue twitter) (Source: North Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue twitter)

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A 95-year-old died after a fire destroyed her home in North Myrtle Beach. She was in stable condition, but died days later, according to Horry County Coroner Robert Edge.

Ella Pearl Willard, passed away Saturday August 8 at Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, GA, due to her injuries sustained during the fire in her home last week.

The first call came through just before 7:30 Monday morning August 3, however, the caller only saw smoke in the distance and didn’t know exactly where it was coming from.

Emergency crews with North Myrtle Beach were heading in this direction when a second call came through, this time a neighbor walking her dog saw the smoke pouring out of a home on LD Drive.

“They went in and found one subject inside one of the bedrooms of the house, she’s been transported to Seacoast hospital,” said Kevin Rainier with Horry County Fire Rescue.

Trapped inside of her bedroom was a 95 year old woman. Her family said she lives in the home alone and usually uses her carport as the main way to get in and out of her house. That is the very spot investigators believe the fire started.

“She was in the bedroom, we’re trying to figure out the events which transpired prior to the fire company arriving,” explained Rainier.

She was breathing when emergency crews got on scene, however, the family says she is suffering from smoke inhalation and burns. As they tend to her home, investigators are looking at every possible cause.

“From people smoking to unattended candles, people cooking and electrical issues. They’re all being looked into regarding the fire this morning,” said Rainier as he explained how his team tackles fire investigations.

In addition to sorting through the debris for clues, investigators will also check out any recall or issues with the vehicles parked in the carport.

“There will be several different insurance companies involved because of the cars and house,” said Rainier.

A lead investigator on this case, Kevin Rainier said his team will consider and eliminate many possibilities as the insurance companies launch their own private, yet parallel, investigation.

Ella was the daughter of the late Benjamin "Haskell" and Julia Parker Todd.

Mrs. Willard is survived by her daughters, Rebecca Scott of North Myrtle Beach and Wendy Finley of Easley, SC; brother, B.H. Todd; sister, Mary Nell Thompson; 14 grandchildren; 20 great grandchildren; 4 great great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her husband, L.D. Willard; sons, Dale, Wylie and Barry Willard; brothers, Clayton and William Todd; sisters, Oneida Martin, Laureen Dusenbury and Marjorie Holt.
The family will receive friends from 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday, August, 11 at Lee Funeral Home, followed by a private graveside service.

To read her full obituary click here.  A guestbook is available at www.leefhandcrematory.com

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