Sheriff’s dept. confirms they're looking into suspicious fires in south & west portions of county
Boiling Springs, SC (Paul Kirby) – A spokesperson for the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Wednesday that major crimes investigators are looking into, “a few fires in the Boiling Springs/Fairview area.” Michelle Proffitt, the department’s digital communications coordinator in the Public Information Office said that this is an on-going investigation.
In late October and early November, the fire service responded to several calls that seemed to be suspicious in nature. Many were in mobile homes, outbuildings, or structures that were seldom used or had been abandoned over the years. Some of these fires were in proximity to each other. In some cases, these fires occurred at about the same time or in quick succession requiring county fire officials to reposition trucks and manpower from across other regions to cover areas whose crews were committed to multiple suspicious fires. In one case, two fires were on the same road separated by just a few weeks.
Although the spokesperson for the sheriff's department did not identify exactly which fires they were looking into, some appear to be more than coincidental because of the timing, location, or other obvious conditions that made fire service commanders wonder if they were intentionally set. Some were abandoned, had no electrical service, or people living nearby, and the property owner said that no one had been in them for quite some time. In many of these cases, suspicious fire reports were written by deputies.
On Sand Lick Court, a rural road just outside of Batesburg-Leesville, two mobile homes burned within a few weeks of each other. One was deep in the woods causing firefighters to struggle through a wooded area to get to it. One firefighter was transported from that scene by EMS after he encountered what officials believe was a plant or vine that quickly caused an allergic reaction to his face. The second fire, a double wide mobile home, might also have been intentionally set.
A few weeks ago, a small outbuilding or shed burned to the ground early one morning. That fire was on Pond Branch Road west of the 44 Truck Stop between Gilbert, Boiling Springs, and Leesville. It was quickly reported as suspicious. Someone quickly identified a suspect that could have been involved, and that fire was under investigation.
A short time after that fire, two structures burned between Pelion and Boiling Springs. These were just a few miles apart. Firefighters were fighting a fire on Ollie Road off James Dunbar Road that had destroyed a building before they arrived. When the second call was dispatched, crews left the Ollie Road fire to an abandoned structure that was burning on Windy Wood Road near Fox Trot Trail. Both were considered suspicious.
Just days later, firefighters were fighting the second fire on Sand Lick Court when another fire was reported in the 600 block of Founders Road close to Longview. A deputy made a report on it after fire officials called it suspicious. While equipment and manpower were finishing up on Founders, a mobile fire was reported burning on Doe Trail off Hwy. 6 near Sharpe’s Hill. That mobile home caught fire the night before and the sheriff’s department made a report on the second fire after it was also deemed suspicious.
While the crews were still at the Doe Trail fire, a woods or grass fire was reported near Shumpert Mill and Thor Roads. Its cause has not been released. All of these fires that day were within a five-mile radius or in the same region.
Officials have not confirmed these fires were all related, but they all happened within a few weeks of each other and in the same basic geographical region. There may have been others; however, these were all reported in the news.
In one instance, a description of a vehicle was given and fire crews and law enforcement officers were asked to be on the lookout for that. In another instance, a witness reporting seeing juveniles running from the scene just as the fire began burning. All of that was reported to the sheriff’s department.
The Lexington County Sheriff's Department’s Digital Communication Coordinator, Michelle Proffitt, said on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 4th, 2020 that investigators are asking the public to keep their eyes open and make tips if they see or hear anything about intentionally set fires. Citizens who have information are asked to call 1- 888 CRIME SC. Tips can also be submitted through CRIME STOPPERS website at www.midlandscrimestoppers.com. Just navigate to the Submit a Tip Tab on that webpage to leave information. If you would prefer, CRIME STOPPERS also has a P-3 app that you can submit tips through.