Folly fire victim’s funeral to be in Ohio

Authorities investigated the scene of a March 22 fire at 81 Center Street, Folly Beach, in which Tom Thiel died from smoke inhalation.

The man who died inside his Folly Beach apartment in a fire March 22 will be laid to rest Tuesday by his family and friends in Loveland, Ohio.

Tom Thiel, 43, was found dead the morning of March 22 when firefighters responded to the building on 81 Center St. He died from smoke inhalation, according to officials with the coroner’s office.

Brian Thiel, Tom’s brother who lives in Florida, said they’ll be holding a funeral service on Tuesday.

Thiel said he and his family were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from the people of Folly Beach.

“I had no idea that Tom was loved by so many people on Folly Beach,” he said. “I literally walked into the Tides hotel and was brought to tears the first moment someone spoke to me.”

Tom Thiel had moved to Folly Beach after visiting his cousin who was already calling The Edge of America home.

Tom loved his country, according to his brother. “He traveled the world, both on business and on vacation, and took his love for America everywhere he went,” he said.

Last Tuesday, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division ruled out any criminal activity in determining what caused the fire.

Folly Beach Public Safety Chief Dennis Brown said the fire marshal and investigators had concluded all their interviews in determining the cause but were not ready to release the report on Friday afternoon.

Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or