Older homes at greater risk of house fires

Older homes at greater risk of house fires

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A recent uptick in house fires has plagued the Myrtle Beach area.

The most recent blaze happened Saturday at a home along Fourth Avenue North, the result of a grease fire.

The Myrtle Beach Fire Department arrived within minutes and was able to put it out, but the fire reignited again the next morning.

Jodi Walker, a friend of the homeowner, said the man was making cheese sticks on the stove. After he walked into the bedroom for a moment, he started to smell something burning.

"And when he walked into the kitchen, the pot of grease had caught fire," said Walker.

Myrtle Beach Fire Lt. Jonathan Evans said older homes that were built pre-code have a tendency to spread faster and reignite. These homes could be as young as 20 years.

If the walls are not properly insulated, they could develop air pockets, making it difficult for firefighters to pinpoint where the fire is in the walls.

According to officials, some pre-code homes don't even have fire sprinklers installed in the ceilings, a huge hazard when it comes to fire prevention.

"They lost everything, as you can see," Walker said of her friend's home. "No clothing, kids' pictures, everything gone."

The American Red Cross is donating financial assistance to one of the homeowners, who will receive lodging, food, and clothing. However, the other two men of the house have not yet received any assistance because their names are not on the official house lease.

Walker is doing everything she can to find aide for her friends.

"I have called everyone that I can find - churches, everything - to try to get them donations so they can get somewhere to stay temporarily," said Walker.

Walker reflected on how terrified she would be to live in a home that was built sprinklers were required.

"Scared, very scared," she said. "That is very scary. You think they worked 12 hours on a home, that fire should be out,"

Yet the fire did reignite a second time and the Myrtle Beach Fire Department returned to put it out again.

At this point, WMBF News has reached out to the American Red Cross but has not received a response about the other two men not receiving aide money.

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