New information released on Windsor Green fire

**Horry County police released Tuesday that the hotline for victims (997-6970) is being shut down. Victims of the fire can call A&I Fire and Water Restoration at 843-236-2015 or 843-236-2047 for all inquiries concerning access to the site and property retrieval.

Governor Nikki Haley took a tour of the damage left when a grass fire led to 109 condos burning to the ground in the Windsor Green subdivision of Carolina Forest.

At a news conference from the fire site Monday afternoon, we learned new information about the investigation and the recovery at the site.

We learned for the first time that all residents have been accounted for and that there was no loss of life, according to Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes.

The search for possible victims had been a trying one. Cadavar dogs were brought in to search the scene. Horry County police said it was hard to account for everyone who might have been in the condos because some units may have been vacant or used as vacation rentals.

Horry County Fire Chief Frederick Crosby addressed the investigation into the cause. "This was not a natural event, he said, human interaction was involved."

The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation, but Sunday we learned the fire started near power lines just yards from the condos. The fire burned 24 acres of woods and grassland.

It's too early to determine whether the ignition was intentional (arson) or accidental, according to Scott Hawkins, with the South Carolina Forestry Commission. Tuesday he said it was a strong possibility we may never know the cause of the fire.

SCFC investigators have ruled out several possible causes, including debris burning, power lines, campfire, and lightning.

"Fire weather conditions Saturday, proximity of the buildings to the woods, flammable construction materials (i.e. vinyl siding), and combustible landscaping materials, such as pine straw, all played a role in the scope of this tragic fire," Hawkins said.

The insurance company for Windsor Green will figure out the monetary amount of the damage, Hawkins said, but they are still far from being able to do that.

For her part, Governor Nikki Haley praised the first responders, saying it was clear the fire could have been much worse. "You've got a good team in Horry County," she said.

South Carolinians who want to play a proactive role in the protection of their property can visit the SCFC's website.