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A long hot night: Firefighters battle flames at Litchfield dentist office

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Fire at dentist office

Midway Fire Rescue work on containing the fire at Total Dentistry on June 29.

It was a hot and humid day as firefighters put out a fire out that destroyed Dr.Gregory Hierholzer’s Total Dentistry office on Ocean Hwy in Litchfield Monday evening.

Midway Fire Rescue Division Chief Mark Nugent said a call came in at 4:38 p.m. for an alarm activation at the dental office. One of their units was in close proximity of the dentist office and quickly saw the real problem.

“They quickly corrected... it wasn’t a alarm activation it was a fire,” Nugent said.

He said that when they arrived they noticed “heavy body of fire” and smoke coming out of the back of the building and check to make sure if everyone was in the building. Luckily for them, everyone had gone home for the day. After confirming this, they quickly changed their tactics. They upgraded to a second-alarm fire and worked to contain the flames.

“We went with an interior tactic. We had personnel in the building trying to get that fire under control. Too much fire volume at that time and without anybody actually in the building from a life safety perspective, we choose to do the smart thing and go to a defensive type of attack to get the bulk of that fire knock down,” he said.

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Coming to their aid was the City of Georgetown Fire, Georgetown County Fire, Murrells Inlet/Garden City Fire, Horry County Fire Rescue and Myrtle Beach Fire. During this hours long battle, at least three firefighters were treated on the scene and later sent to the hospital for heat-related injuries. However, they are expected to be okay.

He said that the humid weather took a toll on the firefighters and that the building also took some time due to its unique roof construction.

“The way it was cut up and constructed took a lot of extra work to get in and get areas of that building... It was under control under a couple of hours but it took another couple of hours for ‘grunt work’.”

He said the fire was under control within a few hours and called the incident “a long hot night.”

Fire investigators did a preliminary check until almost 10:30 p.m, but Nugent said they are continuing their investigation into the fire incident.


Kareem Wilson covers health for the Georgetown and Myrtle Beach area for the Georgetown Times. He previously covered entertainment and community news for the Charlotte Post in Charlotte, NC.

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