Two-alarm fire damages townhomes, kills pets in Carolina Forest

A two alarm fire damaged three units of a townhome and killed two dogs in the Sawgrass East subdivision in Carolina Forest on Monday evening.

Horry County Fire Rescue spokesman Brian VanAernem said the fire started outside and spread to the homes on the 800 block of Sheridan Road.

Th first firefighters were on scene within three minutes after being dispatched at 5:25 p.m. Monday and arrived to heavy fire, VanAernem said.

Nobody was home during the fire in the unit that was most heavily destroyed. Firefighters found two dogs inside that died in the fire, VanAernem said.

Ron and Pamela Hinch were home in their unit when the fire started. Pamela Hinch said she noticed the windows seemed foggy and then her husband realized it was smoke from the fire.

Ron Hinch said he was glad he, his wife and their two pets were safe.

“I’m very relieved,” he said “My wife was going nuts thinking her cat was gone.”

Taffy the cat was rescued from a bedroom by firefighter Kenneth Bruce, who was hugged by a tearful Pamela Bruce when the family reunited.

Laura Hammelman said she was at the vet with her dog when her 13-year-old son called to tell her about the fire. She wasn’t sure if her house, which she said she purchased about two months ago, was damaged but said she saw firefighters had opened rear windows and doors.

“You work so hard for the down payment and to make sure you get something in a great neighborhood like this for the kids to grow up in,” she said. “To know that it could be gone like that, it’s definitely scary.”

Units from Myrtle Beach and Conway provided mutual aid for Horry County Monday.

A specific cause of the fire remains under investigation.