Apartment fire 911 calls show panic, fear

By Eric

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) -- Berkeley County officials received a high volume of 911 calls during the Pine Harbour apartment fire in Goose Creek. The county made those calls public for the first time Wednesday afternoon.

The newly released recordings show what it was like for victims moments after the fire started. The first 911 calls were made around 12:30 p.m., the day of the fire.

Between screams and sobbing they came pouring in to dispatchers.

"They're trapped in there," screamed one caller. "It's 5000 Harbour Lake Drive, apartment D79!"

Callers described the scene. Building D at Pine Harbour Apartments, units 65 through 80, had erupted in flames.

Caller: "Oh my God!"

Dispatch: "Do you see the flames?"

Caller: "There's a fire! Everybody get out."

The calls depicted a chain of information, relayed from callers to dispatchers, then to fire crews. Witnesses described people jumping from windows to escape.

First responders quickly learned victims were still trapped inside.

"There's somebody in the house," said dispatch. "We've got a structure fire with a kid entrapped."

As the flames intensified, so did the panic.

Dispatch: "You said somebody is trapped inside?"

Caller: "They're saying a child is trapped inside, I don't know who lives up there, oh my God!"

Living inside apartment D80 were victims 19-year-old Morgan Abernathy and her cousin, 4-year-old Samuel Garbe.

According to family, Abernathy died while holding the boy in her arms.

Almost a week later officials have not released a cause for why the fire started.

Also killed in the fire was 69-year-old Joseph Raeth.

ABC News 4 has attempted on numerous occasions to seek comment from management at Pine Harbour Apartments. On Monday, a person who identified herself as a regional manager said they will "not be answering any questions or doing any interview, now or ever."

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