The head of Horry County Fire Rescue said Wednesday morning it is not known if the death of a woman killed in a house fire late Tuesday outside of Conway could have been prevented if a nearby fire station was manned at the time of the blaze.
Firefighters were called at 10:35 p.m. Tuesday to 7050 Firehouse Road for the fire, said Leslie Yancey, Horry County Fire Rescue public information officer. When firefighters arrived at the scene, they saw smoke and flames coming from the double-wide mobile home at the address.
Angela Cannon, 51, was killed in the fire, said Horry County Coroner Robert Edge. A preliminary autopsy showed Cannon died of smoke inhalation, Edge said.
Edge said Cannon was undergoing treatment for cancer.
Horry County Fire Rescue Chief Garry Alderman said a volunteer station located on Kates Bay Road, about a half mile from the home, was unmanned at the time of the blaze and that officials from Conway were the first to the scene.
"It's unfortunate that (Kates Bay) station didn't get out," Alderman said. "I have 32 stations and 18 are career (staffed full-time). When you have more than 1,000 square miles, unfortunately we don't have the funding to put people at every station."
Alderman said that Horry County Fire Rescue is "stretched too thin" and that "volunteerism is a dying thing all over the U.S. It's not just here."
"We'll never know if having that station manned would have helped her or not," Alderman said.
Investigators are on scene at 8 a.m. trying to determine a cause of the blaze.
James Cyganiewicz, Horry County's deputy fire investigator, said the room of origin was the master bedroom.
More details will be posted as they become available.