A space heater caused a fire that destroyed a Gapway home and sent six people to the hospital early Monday. Among the seriously injured are two children and a firefighter.
Fire Marshal Shannon Blackman said the 911 call came in just after midnight from 145 C.H. Buffkin Ave., a rural road between Fair Bluff and Tabor City. The home was engulfed when firefighters arrived.
All six of the individuals were treated at the scene by EMS and several were transferred via AirLink to Brunswick, New Hanover and Grand Strand Hospital. Five missions were flown by AirLink.
One of the victims, David Vela, is a full-time firefighter at Lake Waccamaw. He is being transferred to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Ga., this morning. The owner of the home, Annette Soles, sustain minor burns, according to witnesses. She is Vela’s girlfriend. Soles’ daughter, Teresa Boyd, was flown to the Charleston University of Medicine while her two young daughters were taken to Grand Strand by ambulance.
Blackman said in a press release that an electric space heater in a child’s room caused the fire.
Responding agencies included Tabor City Fire Department, Tabor City Emergency Services, Fair Bluff Fire and Rescue, Cerro Gordo Fire and Rescue, Whiteville Rescue, Horry County Fire and Rescue and Columbus County Emergency Services.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to receive donations for the family at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-david-vela-family?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer.
Lake Waccamaw Fire Chief Brandy Guyton Nance also shared a list of the family’s clothing sizes this afternoon. Donations may be dropped off at the Lake Waccamaw Fire Department.
This is a developing story.