Vacant home burned on purpose

A shot of the fire just minutes after it was set on fire / Holly Morgan

Horry County Fire Rescue burned a vacant home on South Bay Lakes Drive in Surfside Beach Tuesday.

"It's a vacant building that hasn't been used for some time. Obviously we've been doing some work in there for training and aesthetically, it's lost its luster for the neighborhood, so it really has lost it's usefulness," Scott Thompson, HCFR Assistant Chief, said.

The home originally burned in the summer of 2010 and firemen have since been using it for training opportunities.

"We did ventilation training where we were able to climb on the roof and cut holes with the saws and hand tools and simulated fire activities. We also did training inside the structure with black out masks for situations where a firefighter may get lost," Thompson said.

Residents in the community tell us they're glad HCFR is destroying the building because it's an eyesore.

Ernie Schaefer is from Ohio, but spends the winter in Surfside Beach. "When you come in here, this is a beautiful community, and you see something like that and you wonder what happened here and what's going on. The building does not belong to Southbridge, however most of the people who drive in here think it's part of us," Schaefer said.

Horry County Fire Rescue got permission from state environmental officials to burn the house.

Firefighters started burning the building in sections around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, which was an hour later than originally scheduled. Because of the building's close proximity to other homes, they took extra precautions.

Cleanup started immediately after the controlled burn. HCFR expects the property to be cleared Tuesday evening.