MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach Fire rescue crews responded to a split level multi story structure fire at 403 Chester Street Sunday, around 11 a.m. Heavy fire and smoke were showing upon arrival, according to MBFD. Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard confirmed one fatality.
The victim has been identified as 77-year old Grady Queen Jr. An autopsy will be conducted tomorrow to determine the cause of death, according to Willard.
The fire was marked under control within an hour and is now under investigation, according to the MBFD. The home has multiple units connected to it.
Lt. Christian Sliker with Myrtle Beach Fire and Rescue said the cold rain and wind made it more difficult to control the flames and created problems for firefighters.
"Anytime that the weather is this cold and frigid, it definitely makes it more difficult on our firefighters. And the wind...the wind and chill factor alone...the wind has definitely played a factor in making sure we could extinguish this fire, due to the oxygen being basically propelled into the fire," said Sliker.
Neighboor Sabina Holt said, "Our son came outside, we were getting ready for church and he came back in the house and said, "The house across the street is on fire!" "We all ran out and this was a little after 11 and by the time we got out the whole house was engulfed with flames above the roof."
"I was very disturbed," said Holt. "My father and our neighbor J.R. had run to get the people out of the house and we were worried that someone was in there."
"We saw him all the time he didn't come out the house much I saw him out in his yard he would walk, he was very friendly, older person, kinda of to himself, very kind. He would walk to the store and he would walk real slow and we would ask him on several occasion he if wanted a ride but he always wanted to walk there."
Holt said, "there was a lot of people that were in and out of the home. I believe that they did live there as well. I think he was a very kind hearted person that would let people come and stay, there was a lot of activity, I was actually very concerned for him."
"Everyone is very sad, very shocked, and very concerned because this could have happened to us as well. We are very sad for all the people involved," said Holt.