Early morning Folly Beach apartment fire leaves one dead

Deadly Fire (WCIV)

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) - A Folly Beach man known for his smile and an outgoing personality has died in an apartment fire.

The Charleston County Coroner confirmed Friday afternoon confirmed that 43-year-old Tom Thiel's body was found at his Center Street apartment.

Chief Dennis Brown says the first call came in at 3:42 a.m. Friday. The fire occurred inside an apartment above a garage located next to Flipper Finders, a boat and kayak tour company.

Friends gathered at Planet Follywood and mourned Thiel's death.

"He was great he had a smile on his face anytime you could possibly look at him he had a smile on his face he made people who didn't like him love him," Stephanie Davis said.

According to friends, Thiel moved to Folly Beach several years ago from Ohio.

Pastor Richard Summey of Folly Beach Baptist Church, which is located next to the apartment, said Thiel will be greatly missed.

"He was well known on the island he was always giving a helping hand," he said. "One of my parishioners's stopped by my house early this morning in her grief seeking some prayer."

During the day Friday, fire investigators dug through the charred rubble to find clues to what started the fire. Officials have not confirmed where it originated by do say it only affected Thiel's apartment unit.

The fire is still under investigation.

"We pray for each other and we love each other we help each other it's a wonderful place to live and an important part is missing now," Summey said.

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