MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - As the victims of the Windsor Green fire move forward, many have gone to the site to search for items that may have survived. One engaged couple was hopeful they didn't lose their wedding bands. Stored in a fireproof box, the rings survived, but the couple isn't quite walking away with the happy ending they expected.
Last Saturday afternoon, Nick Mazzola and his fiance Doina Bustiuc were home getting ready to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Myrtle Beach. But as they got ready to leave, a fire quickly changed their plans. They had to escape the growing flames.
"And all we saw were flames all over. The house in front of us was like all on fire. I was so scared. There were so many people running and crying outside," explained Bustiuc. "All I was saying, I was like God please help us, God please help us."
Mazzola got their pets and his grandmother who lived in a nearby building out of harm's way.
"Time I got them to a safe place I sprinted back here to try and see what I could save By the time I got back here I couldn't get back in. The fire, the smoke, the heat, everything, there's no chance," said Mazzola.
Once they were allowed back in, the couple searched for the wedding bands they planned to exchange on May 11.
"We were praying that it was there. Absolutely I was praying that that would be the one survivor I'll say of the house. To say, 'Hey look see this is eternal, it was a sign,'" added Mazzola.
The fireproof safe the rings were stored in stayed intact.
"Unfortunately when the property was being sorted and cooled off, the excavator ripped open the top of my safe and exposed it to the elements. Had some money that was burned, but Wells Fargo is actually able to help us with that. But I also had my wedding bands in there. And unfortunately the wedding bands were in the bags we purchased them in. Inside the bags were the boxes that the bands were sitting in. And when I opened it all up, both the boxes were empty, so somebody unfortunately went in, they got their hands dirty," explained Mazzola.
"Those rings were the only things that we had from our house. Only memories they were supposed to make us a family," said Bustiuc. "I'm trying to avoid to think about that because it just hurts me more."
The couple isn't dwelling on what they've lost.
"It'll still be May 11. I'm not letting this destroy us," said Mazzola. "We have each other. That's what's most important."
"I feel so lucky that we are alive. I'm so happy that he didn't go back in the house because who knows what could've happened. I'm happy grandma is alive. I'm happy we have our dogs, because there are so many families that they lost their pets," added Bustiuc.
The couple filed a police report for the stolen rings, which were not insured. They also lost their wedding vendor contracts, lists, and RSVP's in the fire, but thankfully the bride's wedding dress is still in New York.
The couple said they weren't the only victims of theft. A neighbor told them two guns were stolen out of a case.