Fundraiser planned for family injured in Tabor City house fire

The fire occurred early Monday morning in a mobile home on Buffkin Avenue.
Tabor City Fire
A fire still smolders at a Tabor City home where five people were injured on November 29, 2021 (Photo: Peyton Furtado/WWAY)

TABOR CITY, NC (WWAY) — Several agencies are collecting donations and household items for a family who lost their home in a Columbus County house fire.

The fire occurred early Monday morning in a mobile home on Buffkin Avenue in Tabor City.

According to Columbus County Fire Marshal Shannon Blackman, a 9-year-old girl who was sleeping woke up and discovered a space heater on fire in her bedroom. She then woke up her younger sister. The two girls and four adults escaped from the home.

Three of the adults suffered second and third-degree burns. Despite their injuries, Blackman says the situation could have been worse.

One of the adults injured, David Vela, is a firefighter with the Lake Waccamaw Fire Department. He was not working when the fire occurred. Vela was injured after reentering the burning home to rescue two dogs. He is currently hospitalized in Augusta, GA.

According to Lake Waccamaw Fire Chief Brandy Nance, Vela was intubated and in ICU Tuesday morning. He suffered third-degree burns on his back.

The two girls, ages 5 and 9, were also hospitalized in Augusta and are expected to be discharged Tuesday afternoon, Nance said.

The girls’ mother, Theresa Boyd, was airlifted to a hospital in Charleston, SC, and she is expected to remain there for about a week.

Boyd’s boyfriend, Gene Soles, was severely injured and airlifted to the UNC Burn Center in Chapel Hill. Soles is expected to undergo surgery on Tuesday.

His mother, Annette Soles, was not injured in the fire.

Monetary, household and clothing donations are being accepted at four locations: Tabor City Emergency Services, Fair Bluff Fire Rescue, Lake Waccamaw Fire Department and Tabor City Fire Department. The Town of Lake Waccamaw has also established a GoFundMe account to collect donations for the family.

Plans are also in the works for a cornhole tournament that will be held at noon following the Lake Waccamaw Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 4. Those wishing to take part in the tournament are urged to register in advance.

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