Arson cause of woods fires that threatened homes

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By HEATHER WALTERS 

Three different cases of arson have destroyed nearly 50 acres of land in Colleton County. 

Crews with Colleton County Fire-Rescue (CCFR) and with the S.C. Forestry Commission fought the woods fires, which began on Tuesday, March 23rd in the Springtown Community in northern Colleton County. 

Emergency dispatchers with the Colleton County 911-system were first notified of the fires when a passer-by saw the fire, located near the corner of Can City Road and Powder Horn Road. The flames were spreading toward several mobile homes located near the fire. 

Local firefighters with CCFR arrived to the scene and found a “large, fast-moving fire” that was already covering about 10 acres of land, according to Barry McRoy, chief of Colleton County Fire-Rescue. 

Three fire engines and a fourth fire truck, called Tender 5, were placed near the mobile homes to protect them from the fire, said McRoy. Firefighters also were on the ground with hoses to protect the houses. Local crews then asked for assistance from the S.C. Forestry Commission, who sent two tractors to the scene. 

“While we were engaged in fighting that fire, a motorist stopped to tell us a second woods fire about one mile south of this location,” said McRoy. 

Additional firefighting crews and fire trucks were sent to that scene. The S.C. Forestry Commission also sent two additional tractors to this second fire, to help dig trenches and stop the flames from spreading. 

In this fire, about six acres were on fire, according to McRoy. 

“Light winds quickly spread the first fire in an easterly direction, which caused the fire to grow. In all, we had about 40 acres involved and additional homes were being endangered on Misty Ridge Lane,” he said. 

Then, about 45 minutes later, another 911-emergency call was received to notify authorities of a third fire. This fire was about two miles west, near Sunrise Road and Bent Gate Lane. 

Three additional fire engines from Colleton County Fire-Rescue were sent to this third fire, and the S.C. Forestry Commission also sent two more tractors to this location. 

“The tractors from the Forestry Commission cut lines around the fires,” said McRoy. “Units from both agencies were on the scene most of the afternoon until the fires were contained. No homes were damaged in any of the fires,” he said. 

In all, approximately 48 acres were burned from the three fires. 

“We suspect this is arson. These were not controlled burns,” said McRoy. 

The fires are being investigated by local authorities. 

Anyone with information about those persons responsible for setting the fires should contact the S.C. Forestry Commission at 1-800-92-ARSON, Colleton County Fire-Rescue Headquarters at (843) 539-1960 or the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office at (843) 549-2211.

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