HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - An Horry County man is still searching for answers after a fire destroyed his home. Local investigators say the fire started near a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone. That phone was recently taken off the market and banned from most flights. Wesley Hartzog has been moving from place to place ever since his home was deemed unlivable back in September. He said living out of suitcases has cost him a great deal, but that's nothing compared to the mental stress it's caused him and his family.
"It's just been real stressful. I really don't even know how to explain it. It's just been rough on the kids as well, them having to go different places," said Wesley Hartzog.
Hartzog spent Sunday afternoon rummaging through the damage with his two daughters, trying to salvage what he could.
"The motorcycle, they totaled it out. It was like $11,900 worth of damage to it, so it's been totaled out through the insurance," Hartzog said. "Most everything else is gone. I'm going to try and fix the four wheeler, because I didn't have any insurance on it. And then most everything else I've had to throw away because it either had smoke damage or it was melted from the fire."
Authorities were able to confirm the fire originated near a Samsung Galaxy smart phone, which Hartzog said he plugged into the wall just 20 minutes before. The Galaxy Note 7 made headlines recently. A recall was issued after it was discovered that a faulty battery issue was causing the phone to catch fire. More than 90 incidents have been reported since then - including Hartzog's. However, he said Samsung has not admitted responsibility for the fire.
"They did an X-ray of the phone here at the house, they took the phone with them, and they did a CAT scan at a later date. And all those tests have come back inconclusive so far," he said.
After spending almost a month in and out of hotels and staying with friends, Samsung representatives have now placed Hartzog and his kids in a condo for the time being.
"It's going to be for about three weeks. But once the three weeks is up, they said I'm going to be back on my own trying to figure out where to go," he said. "I'm just hoping to be able to replace the stuff in my garage and get my life back to normal with my kids and get back in my house."
Hartzog said it will take more tests and more money to determine if the phone was responsible for the damage, and with over a month still to go on repairs, he may now be forced to find a new place to live.
You can donate to the Hartzog family by clicking here.
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