Pelion, SC (Paul Kirby) – Lexington County firefighters responded to a fully involved camper fire in the 900 block of Founders Road Tuesday afternoon. The fire was dispatched between 2:30 and 3:00 p.m. When the first due fire service personnel from Boiling Springs arrived, the camper was burning from end to end.
In early October, South Carolina Forestry Commission law enforcement officers arrested the man who had been living in the camper that burned Tuesday for setting fires. Richard Oliver Maner, 43, was formerly charged with setting fire to forest land.
Maner was accused of willfully setting fire to the woods owned by his sister. Most of these fires burned behind the camper which he had been using as his home. In total, Maner was accused of setting fires approximately six times between Oct. 22, 2016 and the day he was arrested in October of this year. This included a fire he is accused of starting on the night of his arrest. He had been out of jail on a PR bond.
Maner did not appear to be at the scene of Tuesday’s fire. A neighbor said he had called Maner’s sister who apparently owned the land, and she said he (Maner) was not supposed to be near the property. The neighbor said that he thought Maner had been hospitalized several weeks ago, and he had not seen him come or go from the property recently. He said Maner normally kept several dogs in the camper, but their whereabouts were also unclear at the time of the fire.
The neighbor said he had just put his son down for a nap, and was doing some work around his house. He had walked to the backyard to retrieve a piece of lumber for a project when he saw smoke coming from a roof vent of the camper. Before the firefighters arrived, he heard a loud hissing sound and the fire quickly intensified. The neighbor said that he was shocked at how quickly the fire consumed the camper. Between the time he saw the smoke and the arrival of the firefighters, the fire had almost completely burned the camper to the ground.
Firefighters quickly had the fire under control. Even though the camper was fairly large, it was completely destroyed by the time the fire crews made their attack. It only took one handline to bring the fire under control. Firefighters used hand-tools to rake through the remains of the camper putting out the hot spots.
Law enforcement officers and trained fire investigators were requested and asked to respond to see if they could determine the cause and origin of the fire. At the time that the fire was marked under control, Richard Maner’s whereabouts had not been determined.