CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WWAY) — One person has died in the fire that tore through the top floor of Inland Harbor condominiums at Carolina Beach.
The call came in just before 9 a.m. Monday. The condos are located on St. Joseph Street.
Carolina Beach Fire Chief Alan Griffin said when they arrived, they could see the fire coming from the balcony of a fourth floor residence. They had a struggle getting it knocked down because of void spaces.
Griffin said the fire started in one condo and then spread to a condo on each side. Firefighters managed to contain the fire to those three condos, but eight others have either smoke or water damage.
Griffin said one person was trapped and could not get out. Firefighters found the person inside, but they are not releasing the name or whether the victim was a man or woman.
“The last thing we want is to lose a citizen. More importantly, we don’t want to cause any more property damage, no more citizen loss than we have to. Unfortunately, in this case, the fatality was in the fire apartment, so once we arrived and was able to get lines in place, it was too late to save the victim,” Griffin said.
The weather had an effect on firefighting efforts. Griffin said a northeast wind pushing through the building caused a little bit of a challenge, making the fire attack a little difficult for firefighters.
There was a lot of ice around the marina area on the backside of the building, so some crews had trouble getting their footing. But Griffin said in the front of the building, where they were attacking the fire, they didn’t have any issues.
Griffin said they do not suspect anything suspicious, but the Carolina Beach Police Department, fire marshal and the SBI will be investigating.
People who live in the condos will not be allowed inside overnight. The community is also coming together to offer support.
“We’ve had a lot of people to offer us places to go. People are already bringing clothes. Carolina Beach is a great community. And they take care of their own. And, so, it’s just… It could be worse. At least we’re safe,” said Inland Harbor resident Sheila Embler. “It’s hard and it’s hard too to know that people that you live with here are losing a lot as well.”
Fire departments from Kure Beach, Carolina Beach, Wilmington Fire, New Hanover and Leland responded.
James Jarvis with the American Red Cross said they are assisting 11 families, 19 people. The organization has helped the displaced families find lodging and gave victims money for food and clothing.