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Myrtle Beach area business damaged by overnight fire

Horry County firefighters were called early Monday to a restaurant for a blaze in a Socastee strip mall, where one business sustained damage and birds in an adjacent pet store were evacuated, according to authorities.

No one was hurt during the blaze at 4505 Socastee Blvd., in the Socastee Plaza, said Leslie Yancey, spokeswoman for Horry County Fire Rescue.

Firefighters were called at 12:51 a.m. Monday to Taqueria Los Portales, a Mexican restaurant in the strip mall, which sustained damage from the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Yancey said. Seven Horry County fire units responded to the scene to battle the blaze and firefighters evacuated pets from the neighboring business, Socastee Pet Center.

The pet center smelled of smoke early Monday, but did not sustain serious damages, said Tina Cherico with the business.

The pet center's alarm company called Cherico about 1:30 a.m. Monday after firefighters opened her business to evacuate the birds.

The birds were moved to an area in the parking lot while Horry County firefighters ventilated the pet center because of unsafe levels of carbon monoxide, Cherico said.

“If they hadn’t done that my birds would have died. I’m extremely thankful that they did that for me,” she said, her voice filled with emotion.

The restaurant has extensive damage and Cherico said she was told the blaze started from an electrical problem with the walk-in freezer. The pet center is open for business today.

More details will be posted as they become available.