Dozens reach out for help after fire at Carolina Forest apartment complex

Published: Mar. 12, 2021 at 11:20 PM EST
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Crews were dispatched to an early-morning apartment fire Friday at a Carolina Forest apartment complex.

According to information from Horry County Fire Rescue, firefighters were called to a multi-unit fire in the 4000 block of Signature Drive around 2:26 a.m. A second alarm was sent out as well.

First responders said the building was evacuated and several units suffered heavy fire and water damage.

The fire was brought under control and no injuries have been reported at this time, according to HCFR. The blaze was at the Reserve at Ridgewood Plantation apartment complex.

Officials with the Red Cross said 25 people have reached out for help, and that number could still go up.

“An orange sheet going across our bedroom window,” said Candy Swauger, whose apartment had the roof collapse. “I looked out, and our porch was on fire.”

Swauger says that’s the moment she entered fight or flight mode, running to get a fire extinguisher and using it on her porch.

“At that point, we realized there wasn’t any putting out the fire, so we evacuated my son and my husband,” she said.

The three made it out safely, along with everyone else in the building.

But one member of the Swauger family is still unaccounted for; Coco, the family’s pet beagle.

“By the time I went out to get her leash, she was gone,” said Swauger. “I don’t know if she followed me out the door or what.”

Candy says the fire department found no sign of Coco, so the family spent all of Friday looking.

The Swaugers are still on the look out for their beagle, Coco.
The Swaugers are still on the look out for their beagle, Coco.(Candy Swauger)

While they have their hands full with that, one thing the family doesn’t have to worry about as much as making sure their necessities are taken care of.

The Red Cross is helping the Swaugers and 22 other people displaced by the fire with shelter, food and clothing.

“I think in this case, you do have the apartment complex that’s going to be helping and we’ll work with them and with these families to make sure they’re getting connected to where they need,” said Ben Williamson, South Carolina Red Cross Communications Director.

Swauger says she appreciates everything the Red Cross has done so they can keep their focus on Coco.

“You can go to or something and look her up,” said Swauger. “She’s chipped as well, so hopefully someone will find her.”

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