Fire at hotel in Myrtle Beach forces guests to evacuate

Crews are investigating a small fire that started early Friday at the Westgate Myrtle Beach Oceanfront Resort at 415 South Ocean Boulevard.

The fire broke out around 7:30 a.m. in a room.

Crews with the Myrtle Beach Fire Department evacuated the building which is standard procedure, according to Bruce Arnel with the Myrtle Beach Fire Department.

Cindy Glick, a guest at the resort and member of the large group in town for a wedding got a rude awakening.

"People were banging on the doors saying get out get out," said Glick.

The Myrtle Beach Fire Department says the fire which was caused by an electral shortage in an air conditioning unit, broke out in one of the rooms on the fourth floor.

Glick, who was on the fourth floor, says the alarms were blasting. "It was so piercing and then smoke started coming, so I got up and opened the door and it was just black with smoke," she said.

Glick's cousin, Diane Huffman, was two floors above the fire and says she didn't hear anything.

"My concern is that I really could not hear a fire alarm, the only thing that woke me was a slight smell of smoke," said Huffman, who is also a part of the wedding.

It wasn't until Huffman opened her door, that she found out about the evacuation.

"One couple who was walking fast said this isn't a joke you need to leave," stated Huffman.

Lieutenant Christian Sliker with the Myrtle Beach Fire Department says the alarm didn't go off on Huffman's hallway because her floor wasn't immediately above or below the floor where the fire was.

"We want to make sure everybody does get out, but we are trying to get out the first three floors, which is the fire floor, the floor above and the floor below first, to make sure the people closest to the danger and the fire are out first," said Sliker.

Huffman, Glick, and the rest of the wedding party were allowed back in the resort about an hour after they were evacuated.

The women said they hope their clothes don't smell like smoke, as the rehearsal was just hours later.

Nonetheless, they say this is a wedding trip they'll never forget.

A few blocks of South Ocean Boulevard was closed down for about an hour during the incident.

Arnel says the air conditioner had an electrical shortage. He estimates about $20,000 cost in damage.