SOUTHSIDE — The Union County Sheriff’s Office is investigating two grass fires that occurred within three hours on Tuesday.
Roger Bailey, public information officer for the Southside Fire Department, said his department had asked the sheriff’s office to investigate the fires after firefighters were unable to determine their cause.
“This morning around 10 o’clock we had a grass fire on the 200 block of Byrd Street off Sardis Road,” Bailey said Tuesday afternoon. “It was of undetermined origin so we called the sheriff’s office to investigate.
“At 12:55 today, the S.C. Forestry airplane discovered fire in the 200 block of Johnson Road off of Lovers Lane Road,” he said. “The sheriff’s office was called in to investigate this too as we could not determine the cause.”
In both cases, Bailey said less than a quarter-acre of grass and brush was burned. He said the department was on the scene of each fire approximately 30 minutes.
While only a relatively small area was burned in each case, Bailey said fires bring to approximately 10 the number of suspicious fires the department has responded to in recent months. Those fires include a grass fire in February in the 200 block of Lovers Lane Road and a fire earlier that month that destroyed an abandoned building across from the Southside fire station, also on Lovers Lane Road.
Bailey said that while the fires are being investigated by the sheriff’s office, his department is asking, as it did in the case of the previous fires, for the public to get involved in helping prevent such fires in the future.
“Again, I would like to encourage our citizens if they see anything suspicious to call 911,” Bailey said.
Sheriff David Taylor said Tuesday that the investigation into the fires is ongoing, adding that his office is working closely with Southside Fire Department to solve the cases.
“We are working closely with them,” Taylor said. “They notify us anytime they see something suspicious.”
Taylor added that his office also needs the public’s help.
“We’re urging people that if they have information to contact CrimeStoppers to help us,” Taylor said. “One thing that has made this so hard is that they are so spread out and there are in thinly populated areas for the most part. So we are asking people to call if they see anything suspicious.
“We are also going to be getting together with the Arson Hotline to put some posters out with the Arson Hotline number,” he said. “This will be separate from CrimeStoppers and will be just for acts of arson.”
CrimeStoppers can be reached at 864-427-0800 and the S.C. Arson Hotline at 1-800-92-ARSON.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.