Investigators ruled the fire on Hickory Circle that fallen Conway firefighter Chris Ray was responding to the day he suffered deadly injuries as accidental, but the exact cause of the blaze is still undetermined and will remain so, authorities said.
Horry County Fire Rescue and South Carolina Enforcement Division fire investigators determined the fire to be “accidental but undetermined after investigation,” according to a press release from Conway Fire Chief Le Hendrick.
The origin of the fire was found to be in a bedroom.
Hendrick said that the fire investigation has concluded, so the precise cause of the fire is something that won’t be specifically pinpointed due to the amount of damage.
He said HCFR was asked to conduct the investigation for several reasons, but mainly because of the fatality. SLED was also called in to assist, which is standard protocol when a death is involved.
Ray, 42, was killed in what the fire chief described as a “tragic accident” as Ray’s truck responded to a house fire just blocks from the Ninth Avenue station. Ray fell from the back of the fire engine and was then struck as it reversed down a nearby street from the Hickory Circle blaze.
Ray died March 20 and was laid to rest Thursday in Buffkin Cemetery in the Green Sea community.
An internal investigation will be conducted and an investigation by the South Carolina Highway Patrol is still pending, Hendrick said, but having the fire investigation over offered a small sense of closure for him, he said.
“It’s a slow process, and it’s a healing process,” Hendrick said.