Fire Marshal: Over 40 Fires in Irmo Could Be Arson

IRMO, SC (WLTX) -- Sunday afternoon and evening proved to be an extraordinarily busy one for fire crews with Irmo, Lexington County, and Columbia-Richland.

A report was called in at 5:00PM Sunday of a brush and woods fire near the intersection of Bush River Road and St. Andrews Road, behind the Seven Oaks Shopping Center.

Irmo fire crews responded and worked to extinguish the flames at that location, and were advised by Dispatch that additional calls were received about a significant amount of smoke seen in the Saluda Shoals Park and Corley Millpond areas, near the Irmo Chapin Rec. Commission soccer Complex, as well as behind the Shaw Industries plant on St. Andrews Road.

"The more they were there (on location) the more fires they found," said Irmo Fire District Chief Fire Marshal Jeff Allen.

When Irmo Fire units arrived, they discovered over a dozen separate fires in the area, and called for mutual aid from Lexington County Fire and Columbia-Richland fire department, as well as the South Carolina Forestry Commission and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

"At least one of the reports from a person who came out of fighting some of the fires back there, said it looked like someone had been going along every 50 feet and igniting the brush," said Allen.

Trucks from all three Fire Departments worked to put out a total of over 40 fires, found with the assistance of the helicopter operated by SLED, flying over the dense wooded areas to locate and direct crews to additional fires. SLED's helicopter also worked to try and spot any unauthorized people that might be in the area.

The final hot spots were put out by around 9:35PM, and investigators from the South Carolina Forestry Commission and Irmo Fire will return to the location of the fires today, to investigate the cause of these fires.

Due to Sunday's very high humidity, along with the fact that there were so many fires not in close proximity to each-other, the Irmo Fire District is looking for any individual or individuals that may have been seen walking through this area and started the fires.

Allen is asking for any information anyone may be able to provide regarding this incident. Thankfully there were no injuries caused by yesterday's 40+ fires, however, these fires put the public in danger.

If you can provide any information, you are asked to call the South Carolina Arson Hotline at 800-92-ARSON (800-922-7766.)

All calls to the Arson Hotline can remain anonymous.


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