MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Former Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes is responding to criticism over a fire on his newly owned 131 acre property.
Rhodes bought the former Freestyle Music Park property back in December 2018. He told WMBF News he’s in no rush to decide on a future for the property, but says he was recently inspired by the Florence Center.
“I was up in Florence this past weekend watching Myrtle Beach High School play in the tournament at the civic center and that fits 10,000 people for sports activity, for car shows, for Disney on ice, things like that and I’m saying, ‘How nice this would be,'" Rhodes said.
But two months after Rhodes purchased the property, a three-alarm fire broke out. Fire investigators have ruled that fire as suspicious.
Rhodes said fires break out in this area frequently since it has been abandoned for ten years.
After doing some digging, WMBF News learned Horry County Fire Rescue responded to 27 calls for service at the former Freestyle Music Park in the past year. Three of those calls were for fires.
“You got to understand all the grief that I’m getting about the fire that started, there’s been three to four fires in this building prior to me purchasing it. There is no insurance on the building. You can’t get insurance on a building that is sitting vacated so all of this conversation about this insurance fraud? Well, I’m sorry for you but no one’s sending any checks this way.”
Horry County Fire and Rescue and Horry County Police Department are still investigating the fire.