Beaufort News

Body found in Seabrook home destroyed by fire

Burton Fire District crews responding to a house fire Sunday afternoon on Sea Crest Court near Stuart Point Road found a body during their search of the home, according to a spokesman for the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.

The Sheriff's Office was on the scene investigating the incident Sunday afternoon, Capt. Scott Johnson said.

Fire crews were called to the blaze at 44 Sea Crest Court after a neighbor called 911 at about 1:30 p.m., Burton Fire District spokesman Daniel Byrne said. They arrived to find a single-story elevated structure — a house on stilts — engulfed in flames, he said.

Firefighters tried to enter the home when they first arrived, but weren't able to because of the fiery conditions. The house then became unstable, he said.

As soon as it was safe to do so, firefighters entered the house to conduct a search. That's when they discovered the body.

According to Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen, the body has been identified as the resident of the home, Joe Travis Pryor, 41.

The cause of death is still under investigation; the body has been sent to Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston for an autopsy.

Allen wouldn't say where the body was discovered in the home.

Allen said there was another fire Sunday in Aiken at a home where Pryor also had established residency. Attempts to reach the Aiken County Sheriff's Office on Sunday were unsuccessful.

Because of a lack of fire hydrants in the area, Burton fire officials were forced to call several local fire districts, including crews from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, to help put out the blaze, Byrne said.

It took crews about two hours to completely extinguish the fire. The home was destroyed, he said.

The Beaufort County Fire Scene Investigation Team is working with the Sheriff's Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to investigate the incident, Byrne said. The cause of the blaze is unknown, he said.