HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Investigators continue to look into the cause of Thursday night's three-alarm fire at the Windsor Green condo complex in the Carolina Forest area.
Mark Nugent, spokesperson for Horry County Fire Rescue, gave an update at 5 p.m. Friday on the investigation. He said the cause of the fire is currently undetermined, but there is nothing so far to indicate it was suspicious in nature.
Seven people were injured, four critically, and a total of about 16 people were in the building when the fire broke out. Several people had to jump from the third floor of the building, and at least one baby was dropped and caught by someone as the flames spread.
According to a tweet from Horry County Fire Rescue, the fire was at 4970 Windsor Green Way. One condo building was destroyed in the blaze.
HCFR received the first call at about 9:12 p.m. Thursday night, and the first units were able to get on the location within four minutes, HCFR spokesperson Mark Nugent said. Firefighters were able to knock down the fire in about three minutes.
During Friday's update, Nugent said it actually took firefighters five minutes to get on the scene.
Multiple people jumped from the building to escape the fire, Nugent said. Further information from fire officials indicated seven people were injured. Of that number, four are in critical condition, while three others have non-life-threatening injuries. All the injuries were trauma related, and Nugent said no one was burned. In total, 16 people were in the building, and everyone was able to get out.
A 16-year-old said he caught a baby as it was dropped from the burning condo building.
A breast cancer survivor and her daughter, who lost everything in the massive Windsor Green fire five years ago, were severely injured after jumping from the third floor of their new condo, which they had just moved into last month.
"Red Cross is on the scene," said American Red Cross Chapter Director Nanci Conley. "We have case workers here who are currently meeting with families to assess their needs, and we'll continue to do that and work with them to meet their needs."
The Red Cross emergency response vehicle also responded to the scene to help feed and hydrate the first responders to the fire, Conley said, and they will continue to be there to meet needs as they come up.
Red Cross officials said they are back at the scene of the fire Friday to continue the casework process with residents. They will also have its emergency response vehicle on scene to provide food and hydration. Volunteers will be conducting hospital visits to see how they can assist those injured. So far, the Red Cross estimates they will be providing financial assistance to 20 people.
Those looking to assist people affected by the fire at Windsor Green and other disasters can make a financial donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief. More information on how to donate can be found here: http://www.redcross.org/SC
Below are additional ways to help victims of the fire:
Watch the raw interview with Conley here:
Nugent said that crews completed primary and secondary searches of the building Friday morning, and they will remain on scene all day, conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the fire.
Watch dramatic videos of the fire and aftermath here:
This is the second major fire to strike the Windsor Green housing complex in the last five years.
In March 2013, what started as a brush fire quickly spread to Windsor Green, destroying or damaging 26 buildings.
"I was at Magoo's, and somebody messaged me and said Windsor Green was on fire," said Windsor Green resident Rachel Sharp. "Instantly, I ran every light – I mean, it was a flashback of the last time. I ran all the way from the median up to my grandma's – she's one building away - and I was crying the whole way. Thank God she's safe, but it was petrifying."
Sharp said she's thankful just one building caught fire this time, as opposed to the 26 destroyed or damaged by fire in 2013.
"It was petrifying. You just don't know until your whole life is up in flames – it's horrible," Sharp said.
Watch the raw interview with Sharp:
Red Cross director Conley was also at the first Windsor Green fire five years ago.
"It's a little overwhelming to be back here, but thank goodness the fire department…contained this and so on," Conley said. "I'm very thankful for the Horry County Fire Department and the other ones around that have assisted with this process to keep where we are today."
Check back for more information as it becomes available.