Recovery underway, 2 months after Windsor Green fire

Signs of renewal are emerging after the devastating March 16 Windsor Green Condo fire.

Two months to the day after the fire that left nearly 200 people homeless, new construction is well underway.

Foundations are ready and utility connections installed for new condominium buildings.

Officials at A & I Restoration, which is in charge of the rebuilding, say standing walls should be up by the end of next week. The whole development is scheduled to be completed within 8 months.

"The healing can begin once they start seeing construction anew," said Bo Ives, president of the Carolina Forest Civic Association.

Ives says lessons have been learned. He says since the fire three Carolina Forest homeowners associations have taken steps to become firewise communities, which means they doing things like clearing out the forest underbrush to make them more fire resistant.

"Another wake up call that we need to be ever wary of the next fire and to prepare," Ives said.

It's been a harder path to recovery for those lost pets in the fire.

There's been no definitive count of how many pets were lost, but a Carolina Forest church will hold a service for them this Sunday.

"We realized in the aftermath of the fire we weren't hearing anybody offering a memorial for those pets, a time to gather together and acknowledge that loss and the connection with their pets," said Rev. Tom Dendy, pastor of Celebration Presbyterian Church.

The service will be held May 19 at 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Waterford Plantation community pool.

For other groups, the recovery work continues.

The Red Cross chapter spent $78,000 helping fire victims in the first two weeks after the fire. They had two more fire victims walk in the door just last week.

"One family for example had been away at school and the girl came back and found she had lost everything. So obviously, we worked with them and we continue to do follow-up for up to 90 days," said Red Cross executive director Nanci Conley.

In another sign of change, about 500 Carolina Forest homeowners have signed a petition urging a developer to not use pine straw in landscaping around new homes.

Organizers of the petition drive expect another 200 or so signatures by the end of the month.