Darlington man killed by falling tree during destructive storms

Downed tree on Oakenwald Avenue in Marion County.

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – At least one weather related death has been confirmed in the Pee Dee due to Wednesday’s destructive storms.

Michael Gaines, Sr., 58, of Gilchrist Road in Darlington died after he was struck by a falling tree, according to Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee. Gaines had stopped along Gilchrist Road near his home to remove storm debris from the road, when a tree from the side of the road fell on him, Hardee adds.

Gaines death is currently under investigation by the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office and the Darlington County Coroner’s Office.

Two people were injured when their mobile home in Maxton, NC overturned twice. Maxton Southeastern Fire responded to the home off of Hwy 501 around 5 p.m. Wednesday where a man and woman were inside the overturned home, officials say. The two were taken to a local hospital and are believed to be okay, says Fire Chief Troy Hunt.

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Utility companies serving residents along the coast and inland areas report the following outages:


  • No outages reported as of 6:15 p.m. Wednesday


  • MARLBORO COUNTY – 258 customers affected
  • DARLINGTON COUNTY – 1416 customers affected
  • FLORENCE COUNTY – 581 customers affected
  • DILLON COUNTY – 48 customers affected
  • MARION COUNTY – 50 customers affected
  • GEORGETOWN COUNTY – 3 customers affected
  • HORRY COUNTY – 0 customers affected


  • No outages reported as of 6:15 p.m. Wednesday

Marion County Emergency Management Director Jerry M. Williams reports the Marion County EOC closes at 4 p.m. Wednesday and will resume normal operation at OPCON 5.

Horry County Government Public Information Officer Lisa Bourcier says the county’s emergency management team returned to normal conditions at OPCON 5 at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Georgetown County government returned to normal operating conditions, OPCON 5, at 4 p.m. However, Emergency Management Division staff is urging the community to continue practicing caution on roadways due to the continuing threat of high winds and possible severe weather.

The StormTracker13 Weather Team reports strong and severe thunderstorms will be possible until the early evening ahead of a strong cold front. A tornado watch is in effect through 7 p.m. for all counties except Georgetown and Williamsburg. Any storms that form will contain heavy rain, and winds of 60+ mph will be possible with the strongest storms. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out. Read Chief Meteorologist Frank Johnson’s storm forecast.

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