Memorial to honor seven fire victims

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

OCEAN ISLE BEACH—The seven college students who died in an Ocean Isle Beach house fire will be remembered with a memorial erected in their honor.

A steel cross and a granite plaque will be placed at the base of the Odell Williamson Bridge in front of the Ocean Isle Beach Fire Department.

A memorial service for the victims’ families is set for 3 p.m. May 16. Town administrator Daisy Ivey said letters inviting the parents and families were mailed last week.

The steel cross was originally erected on the lawn of the Scotland Street house and was donated by Lea Steel Company. Stuffed animals, letters and flowers left by family, friends and community members created a memorial site.

The town stored the cross after the lot was cleared, hoping to use it in a future permanent memorial, Ivey said.

The plaque will read “Friends together forever,” and display the names of the seven victims who died during the early morning blaze Oct. 28.

Six of the victims attended the University of South Carolina and one attended Clemson University. Six additional USC students escaped the house, including one who jumped out of a window into the canal.

Autopsy reports state smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning were causes of death for all seven victims.

Although no official cause of the fire could be determined, investigators could not rule out improperly discarded smoking devices.

Officials believe the fire started on the back side of the house, possibly on the deck.