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Suspicious fire destroys home off Pine Tower Circle southeast of Swansea Tuesday afternoon

Sandy Run, SC (Paul Kirby) 11/25/2020 - A house fire that was quickly determined to be suspicious in nature gutted a home on Pine Tower Circle off Saint Matthews Road Tuesday afternoon. The fire was reported just before 3:45 p.m. Pine Tower Circle connects to Saint Matthews Road near Sardis Baptist Church and the Swansea Oil Company. It intersects with Gus Sturkie Road on the opposite end.

First arriving fire service personnel reported flames and smoke visible from a brick home on arrival. As the county’s fire crews began to pull their hoses and attack the fire, more equipment began arriving on the scene. Additional water tanker trucks were requested by the first due battalion chief because there were no fire hydrants in proximity to the burning home.

Teams entered the structure and completed a primary and secondary search in case someone was trapped. Additional crews began attacking the flames that were quickly consuming the home. Ambulances and personnel from Lexington County EMS were on the scene in case someone was located inside the home or was injured while fighting the fire. One of the chiefs on the scene requested the local utility company respond and disconnect the electricity and gas service to the structure.

Doris Simmons, a local business owner and member of the Swansea Town Council, said Tuesday afternoon that it looked as if a parade of fire and medical equipment was coming through town. Simmons said that people knew something large had to be burning because so many fire trucks and ambulances had passed heading that way. At the scene of the fire, one bystander described seeing a long line of unoccupied fire equipment parked along the long dirt drive. Their crews were assigned tasks inside or around the burning home.

One individual who lived nearby and asked not to be identified said there was always a lot of unusual activity that went on at that home. “People would come in and out at all hours of the day and night,” he said. “They’d stay for just a few minutes and then leave.” He and others watched intently as the fire was being fought and later said that law enforcement officers had removed several items from the scene which appeared to be evidence. He also said that one vehicle was towed from the yard of the property at the request of law enforcement. When told the fire was reportedly suspicious and investigators were enroute he said, "That doesn't surprise me at all."

The fire will continue to be investigated by the Lexington County Sheriff's Department with the assistance of the Lexington County Fire Marshal’s Office.


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