LORIS, S.C. (WPDE) - Many in Horry County are grieving the loss of a man and his two young grandsons who died in an overnight house fire. Hugh Elliott, 85, was a World War II veteran. Austin Daniel Elliott, 9, and Connor Lynn Elliott, 7, attended Green Sea Floyds Elementary School. Grief counselors spoke with students to help them deal with the deaths of their classmates.
Family friend, Gregg Stalvey, is still trying to make sense of their deaths. "It's not real, you know. It's not happening. Especially with the boys. Something you don't want to believe," says Stalvey. "They loved playing horseshoes, playing pool, anything outside. They were very outgoing, very wide open."
A few miles away, those at Green Sea Floyds Elementary are coping with the loss.
"This is a tragic situation which some of our children have never dealt with before. But at this point, we feel that they are handling it well with the counselors working with them," explains Assistant Principal B.E. Harrelson. "There really no words to express our sorrow."
Austin was in fourth grade and Conner in second.
Harrelson describes Austin as a "generous and caring person who wanted to be a friend to everyone." She adds Conner "will always be remembered for his loving personality and his sweet smile."
Stalvey and others close to the Elliott family spent time at the now charred home Wednesday, hours after flames destroyed it. Horry County Fire Rescue Chief Garry Alderman says the home was already half gone when the first firefighter arrived. And intense smoke and heat stopped him from reaching the victims. Hugh Elliott is remembered for his giving nature.
"Hugh was a great father, grandfather. I mean he did everything for the boys, for Chuck, for Scott. He's even helped me. The man did everything for anybody, " says Stalvey.
He goes on to say Chuck is the father of the two boys and has been working in Kentucky with his brother Scott. Chuck was planning on moving his sons and father back to Kentucky soon.
A cause of the fire has not been determined at this time.