Six months after Hurricane Matthew, Cherry Grove still recovering from massive fire

Six months after Hurricane Matthew, Cherry Grove still recovering from massive fire

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - There is a sign of hope for a Cherry Grove community nearly six months after a fire erupted and destroyed several homes, just as Hurricane Matthew began winding down.

Resident Mary-Ann Berthrong has spent the last few weeks repairing her condo from water damage, although her building sat just feet away from the fire.

Back in October, crews were not able to respond in full force right away, but at least eight firefighters from North Myrtle Beach Public Safety were escorted to the site by the National Guard.

Armed with only hoses, they began wetting down the surrounding buildings to keep the fire from spreading.

"They amazed me. They totally amazed me. They're brave," said Berthrong. "I'll tell you, for the first couple of weeks afterward, we watched cars go slowly by, make a u-turn, come back, everybody had to see the fire."

Now, six months later, things are beginning to look up.

North Myrtle Beach spokesperson Pat Dowling said all the damaged structures were privately owned, and while some have begun to rebuild, others may decide not to.

"The debris has been cleared and now property owners are determining what they want to do next," Dowling said. "Do they want to sell the land? Do they want to redevelop it themselves as it was before? Or do they want to combine some of the properties together to construct something else?"

For Berthrong, she considers herself lucky, and sees her town recovering one day at a time.

"This is a laid-back community, so I'm not really complaining. It's a good place to live," said Berthrong.

The city will waive fees to submit building plans on those structures for up to a year, and looks to assist those property owners as much as possible on whatever decisions they make, according to Dowling.

Below is an interactive image showing one of the buildings destroyed by the fire in Cherry Grove in October, and the building as it is being rebuilt today:

Copyright 2017 WMBF News. All rights reserved.