WMBF-TV reported Sunday at least 26 residential buildings were either heavily damaged or totally destroyed in the Windsor Green condominium community of Carolina Forest in Horry County when a wind-swept brush fire spread to the structures around 5 p.m. EDT Saturday.
Horry County officials said some buildings had four units, others as many as nine with a total of about 108 housing units destroyed in the brush fire.
Ten search and rescue teams made up of county police and firefighters were going through the Windsor Green community Sunday morning looking for possible victims but believe everyone made it out ahead of the fire.
Horry County Coroner Robert Edge said there were no fatalities as of 10 a.m. EDT Sunday. However, there are reports that multiple pets left behind were killed.
Horry County authorities said one Windsor Green resident had a heart attack after seeing the devastation and was transported to a nearby hospital. Three police officers and a firefighter were also transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation, while battling the massive blaze.
The Horry County Fire Chief has issued a burn ban on all unincorporated areas of Horry County until further notice.
Unusually warm temperatures for this time of year around 80 degrees and very low humidity levels in the 20 to 30 percent range, combined with wind gusts over 20 and 30 mph to make environmental conditions ripe for brush and wildfires across the state on Saturday.
The South Carolina Forestry Commission had issued a statewide red flag fire weather alert for the elevated fire danger earlier in the day.
The fire commission reported just over 30 wildfires burning across the state at 3 p.m. EDT Saturday. That number grew to over 60 a few hours later.
The exact cause of this brush fire is still under investigation but area residents said it appeared to start near power lines that separate Windsor Green from Ashley Park communities.
The American Red Cross has set up a hotline number (843-477-0020) for people affected by the fire that need help.