MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - With Christmas less than a week away, seven people are displaced from a duplex home due to a structure fire. Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue responded to reports of a structure fire Sunday morning at a duplex home on Racepath Street, according to Lt. Christian Sliker.
Investigators say a smoke alarm was installed in the building last December as part of an initiative to keep people aware of fire safety. The family who escaped the burning building say it may have saved their lives.
"I heard the smoke alarms going off and I wasn't sure what it was at first because this is Racepath. This is a loud neighborhood," said Jamie Spivey, one of the seven people displaced by the fire. She says she was sleeping next to her children when the alarm went off, and it was that sound that may have saved her children's lives.
"This is an old building, so I didn't know if they worked or not," Spivey said. "But when I looked up I saw it was blinking so I knew that it worked so I knew something was wrong because I never heard them go off before. So when I went to the room I saw that her room was on fire."
Sliker said upon arrival at about 11 a.m. Sunday, crews found heavy smoke, and flames showing from the exterior. After making entry, crews were directed out of the building due to unsafe conditions. Once the flames were knocked down crews were able to re-enter, extinguish, and begin the overhaul process.
Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue posted dramatic video of crews fighting the fire, shot from a helmet camera on one of the firefighters:
Everyone in the home was able to exit. Seven people, including adults and children are being relocated by the American Red Cross, Sliker said.
"The most important thing with the situation here, we usually would have had injuries or somebody even possibly could have died," said Dennis James with the American Red Cross. "The situation is we put in fire alarms through our fire program earlier this year, smoke alarms. And by putting in these smoke alarms, we've saved lives today."
The family will receive food and shelter from the Red Cross to help them get back on their feet, and the children will be provided gifts for Christmas, according to the Red Cross.