HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Firefighters responded to the scene of a home fire on Womack Road near Nichols Monday morning.
The home was 80 percent involved when Horry County firefighters arrived on scene, according to Lt. Brian VanAernem. Two people were reportedly taken to a nearby hospital.
"Well we were dispatched at 11:21 to a reported structure fire and the initial reports were that is was possibly caused by an explosion," Battalion Chief, Kenny Todd, said on scene.
The fire was in the 5900 block of Womack Road, just miles from the North Carolina border in northern Horry County.
Horry County Fire Rescue requested tankers from Tabor City and and the city of Loris.
"Due to the distance and water supply issues in the area we had additional tankers to shuttle water to the scene, to shuttle water to the scene and we were able to use a farm pond as a water point to eventually establish a water supply to fight the fire," Todd said.
Family watched as firefighters worked to put out hot spots. The couple's niece told WMBF News her uncle was trying to light the heater and it exploded in his face, burning his face and his wife's legs.
"They were trying to light a gas heater and supposedly had a build up of gas vapors and that's what caused the explosion," Chief Todd added.
While Todd says this is a preliminary cause and the fire is still under investigation, he says dangerous vapors can be hard to detect.
"...and if it's not vented well enough then you could have a build up of those vapors which are odorless, colorless, and extremely toxic," he said.
While it could be something as little as dust buildup on heating strips, firefighters want you to be safe, not sorry.
"...we do run into problems with heating units that haven't been used since the last cold spell the previous year and they haven't been checked during the year so it's always a good thing before you start seeing the cold weather to have those heating systems check," Todd said.
In addition to making sure you have enough ventilation, and getting your heating systems checked, firefighters say it's always a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector.