Firefighters find smoke in Surfside Beach apartment

Firefighters find smoke in Surfside Beach apartment

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Several residents were evacuated from a Surfside Beach apartment Monday morning after smoke was reported coming from the vents inside, Surfside Beach Fire Chief Kevin Otte said.

Kenisha Whitis was one of those residents. She described how her mom awoke her to evacuate.

"She was waking me up and telling me, 'You need to get up. We've got to get out of here. We've got to get out of here,'" Whitis said. "As I was waking up, I could smell a strong smell of burnt plastic."

Surfside Beach and Horry County Fire Rescue firefighters arrived at the Lakewood Apartments on 17th Avenue North to find a smoke detector going off and a light haze of smoke around the apartment building, Otte said.

Residents were evacuated and nobody was injured, he added.

Crews checked one apartment and found smoke in it, as well as the unit above.

A woman reported turning on the heat and seeing smoke come out of the vents, which indicated it was likely coming from the HVAC unit, Otte explained.

An investigator will determine if the smoke was HVAC-related.

Crews pulled a few ceilings and took walls down to expose the areas with smoke.

Otte said the people living in the affected apartments will probably not be able to stay at home Monday night.

A property manager will have crews clean up the damage, Otte added.

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