Authorities investigating 5 suspicious fires in 3 Berkeley Co. communities

BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Authorities are investigating five suspicious fires in Jamestown and two other communities in Berkeley County.

Jamestown Rural Fire Chief David Shuler says the fires apparently were set to abandoned buildings, homes and mobiles homes in Jamestown, Honey Hill and Shulerville.

Shuler says the first fire happened on Jan. 28. He says the latest one happened early Sunday morning at an old general store on French Santee Road.

"I've been chief 51 years and I've never had anything like this with arson," Shuler said Monday.

He says two people were living inside a mobile home behind the building when the fire broke out.

Amy Grooms says her cousin and his roommate escaped before the fire blew out the windows of the trailer.

"It was horrifying. The community was devastated, we've had too much going on," Grooms said.

"This was a near miss. The next one could be somebody's house with people inside it, kids involved, family involved, that's my next fear," Shuler said.

Four of the five fires happened at night or early in the morning . One mobile home burned in daylight hours.

Grooms says people are starting to carry guns for protection against the possible firebug.

"Everybody's upset, everybody's on alert. It's one of those things where nobody knows anything so everybody is suspicious," Grooms said.

"They're up in arms, they're wanting to tote their weapons. I pity the person if they catch him in an act, I really do," Shuler said.

Authorities do not want anyone to take the law into their own hands.

People in the community just want whoever's setting the fires to stop.

"Stop what you're doing, think about the lives that you're affecting and the people you might. Just stop, it's too much," Grooms said.

The Berkeley County Sheriff's Office and State Law Enforcement Division are investigating.

Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111.

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