People jumped from their balconies and at least one family tossed a baby to a teen, as fire swept through an apartment complex near the South Carolina coast Thursday night.
At least seven people were hurt and the homes of 16 were destroyed, said Mark Nugent with Horry County Fire Rescue.
All three floors and the building’s attic were on fire when firefighters reached the Windsor Green complex northwest of Myrtle Beach.
Most of the injuries involved people who jumped from their balconies, Nugent said.
“I ran to the back of that building and there was a family saying, ‘My baby, my baby,’ said 16-year-old Blake Cannon. “I told him I’d catch it and he dropped it down and I caught it.”
Cannon was shaken by the experience.
“Really, seeing them falling and jumping was the scary part,” Cannon said.
Nugent said firefighters rescued one person inside the building.
The American Red Cross was working with the displaced families.
Another fire at the same complex in 2013 destroyed 26 buildings.
A sheriff’s deputy got sick from smoke inhalation in that fire and later contracted the H1N1 virus. He later died at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston after a two-month battle that included the use of a medically induced coma and ventilator.