Gaston, SC (Paul Kirby) A woods fire near the intersection of Ben Spires and Blackville Road late Wednesday evening was thought to be intentionally set according to the property’s owner. The fire that consumed a large area of relatively thick woods required the response of several fire trucks and a number of firefighters as well as a bulldozer with a plow from the SC Forestry Commission before it was brought under control.
The fire was first reported just before 8 p.m. and firefighters from Swansea and several other stations responded from Lexington County. The fire incident commander said that the flames were moving slowly through the heavy organic debris that had either grown there or had fallen from the trees that covered the property over the years. Lexington County’s crews used a specially equipped brush unit to do what they could to slow it down until the tractor arrived from the SC Forestry Commission. Once that unit arrived, the operator encircled the fire with a break, a wide plowed furrow that pushes back the material that can burn, so that there was only a dirt area that the fire generally can not cross.
The property owners notified the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department after it became evident that there was no accidental cause for the fire or an act of God that may have started the blaze. An area juvenile was being questioned to see if he may have been involved. Anyone that starts a fire to wooded land that doesn’t belong to them can be charged with setting fire to the land of another, a state charge. The investigation into the cause of the fire continues, and the sheriff’s department has not said if any arrests have been made.
investigation into the cause of the fire continues, and the sheriff’s department has not said if any arrests have been made.