Myrtle Beach man charged with 20 more counts of arson, bond denied

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James Clark Rusenko mug_1550935719018.jfif.jpg

Police arrested and charged a man in connection to an apartment fire at Ocean Creek Resort in the Myrtle Beach area.

James Clark Rusenko, 32, was charged with second-degree arson. On Sunday, Rusenko was charged with 20 additional counts of second-degree arson.

When he appeared before the judge on Sunday, the judge denied him bond, saying it was in the best interested of everyone. 

Twenty-one apartment units were impacted by the fire Friday night along Ocean Creek Drive, according to Horry County Fire Rescue.

Many victims of the fire gave statements during Rusenko’s bond hearing.

“Those who were present for the fire say they will live in constant fear of fire alarms and of the defendant himself if he were ever to do something like this again,” the court clerk said when reading the statements.

“Many victims say they now have nothing but memories of what in their units, most of which was irreplaceable. One victim stated that she recently lost her husband and everything she had left of him is now gone. His actions are unthinkable and that needs to be taken in consideration when setting his bond.”

Several people in the area told officers they believed the fire was set intentionally.

The fire has been knocked down as of midnight Saturday and firefighters were preparing to clear the scene.

HCFR said early Saturday morning that no injuries were reported after the fire that involved a response from 82 firefighters.

According to Tony Casey with Horry County Fire Rescue, firefighters with HCFR were assisted by those from the North Myrtle Beach Fire Department. 

According to a tweet from Horry County Fire Rescue, the original call came at around 10:20 p.m. Friday.

Pat Dowling with the City of North Myrtle Beach told News13 that two trucks from the North Myrtle Beach Fire Department were on scene assisting.

Rusenko is being held at the J. Reuben Long Detention center. 

At around 11 p.m., HCFR tweeted a picture of flames shooting from multiple units:

A viewer, Susan Welsh, provided this photo to News13, showing large flames:

North Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue also posted an update about the units they had on scene:

At 12 a.m. Saturday, HCFR tweeted that 21 apartments were affected and that the fire had been knocked down:

After the flames were extinguished, the extent of the damage to apartments could be seen:

At 1 a.m. Saturday, HCFR tweeted that no one was reportedly hurt:

We’re now working to learn what led to the fire. Count on News13 for updates.

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