Ford's fuel in NMB explodes

Ford's Fuel and Propane in NMB after the fire was completely put out. / Lindsey Theis

Old Highway 17 is shut down because of a fire at Ford's Fuel and Propane. If you normally travel in that area you'll need to find another route.

City of North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling says the first call for the explosion came in at 9:30 p.m Sunday.

"First responders saw heavy fire when they arrived on the scene," Assistant Fire Chief Tom Barstow says.

North Myrtle Beach firefighters were assisted by Horry County Fire Rescue. All together, 34 firefighters with 14 pieces of equipment put the fire out just before 11:00 p.m

About 30 people stood in a parking lot across the street, watching the smoke and aftermath. Many say they heard and felt the explosion from their homes. One couple as far North as Little River.

Scott Brumfeild was enjoying a relaxing Sunday evening when he felt the blast.

"{We were} sitting around watching TV, me and my family. We heard a big boom and it shook the house," he says.

Brumfeild says he is still a little shaken up.

A nearby rental center was damaged because of the explosion. Dowling says a portion of Sunset Harbor, a nearby housing development, was temporarily under a voluntary evacuation because of smoke.

The worry now, Barstow says is of the runoff water that has mixed with debris, ash, propane and fuel getting into the water and ground of the adjacent neighborhoods.

"We're trying to stop that. It's running down a ditch behind the buildings to the next street over," Barstow says.

Fire crews will contain the overflow of the water fuel mix, but the owner of Ford's Fuel is responsible for cleaning it up. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

No one was hurt in the explosion.

"Thank goodness. Nobody was in the building. Nobody was driving by that we're aware of," he says.