Federal charges add to healing for fire victims

By Eric

GOOSE CREEK, SC (WCIV) -- Dozens of victims from the Pine Harbour fire were forced into survival mode the moment the fire erupted. In all, 16 apartments were lost and 46 people were left instantly homeless. Their journey back to a normal life has been both complicated and unexpected.

The fire broke out in Building D at the complex. Thanks to generous donations, the victims who survived have been able to carry-on. New charges for those accused of having a hand in the fire's cause, they say, also adds to the healing.

Kayla Simon is comfortable now. She has a new place with her two young children and husband. But less than two months ago she was forced out of her apartment, when flames swallowed her home and everything she owned.

"I just want them to pay for it, I want everybody involved to get the right punishment for it," Simon said.

Simon lived next door to where investigators say the fire started at Pine Harbour in late May. She spent the next two weeks in and out of motels.

"We were all exhausted, there were so many of us in one little area sharing two beds and a pack and play. It was very exhausting, very frustrating," she said.

Simon says she's tried to keep a positive perspective on the challenges she's faced. At the same time, she couldn't hide her relief to learn of federal charges being filed relating to the fire's investigation.

"I just want them (those responsible) to face what they did to everybody, not just their family or those that didn't make it, but to the entire complex," Simon said. "We're thankful for what we do have and all the help we received. We're thankful we were not home that day."

Since the fire this past May, managers at the Pine Harbour apartment complex have declined to comment. A giant blue tarp now covers the damaged building where the fire started.

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