LORIS, S.C. (WBTW) — A person has been cited after authorities say escaped burning debris was the cause of a large 40-acre fire that damaged multiple structures in Loris.
A store and a nearby building were damaged in the 2-alarm fire in the area of Raven Drive and Highway 9 Business on April 21. Ten homes along Flag Patch Road had to be evacuated.
Doug Wood, director of communications with the South Carolina Forestry Commission, said the cause of the fire was an escaped debris burn and the offender was issued two citations.
The person, who has not been identified, was cited for starting a fire in woodlands, grasslands, and other places without taking certain precautions and for negligently allowing a fire to spread to lands or the property of another.
One of the families who had to be evacuated said material things can be replaced and everyone’s safety was the most important thing. “This if my first time ever being in a situation like this,” Andrea Kelly said. “The first thing I did was I prayed. I said ‘Lord, if you let me get through this, I’m good. If I get my kids out, if I get everybody out safely, I’m good.’”
“Nobody’s hurt. A house is a house. You can always get another house. You can always get clothes and material things. I’m just glad we got our health and strength and our lives. That’s all that counts to me right now.”
No injuries were reported.
Tony Casey with Horry County Fire Rescue urged people to use caution when conditions like this exist as it makes fires difficult to put out. “With the wind whipping like it does, it can actually carry fire great distances, and that’s how it’s so hard to contain,” Casey said.
Horry County and Conway both issued burn bans that day due to the extreme risk of fires.