Mobile home fire is considered suspicious

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By Chris Sardelli

Crime scene investigators are still looking into the cause of a suspicious fire that burned part of a mobile home the morning of Jan. 21.

Deputies and members of the Antioch, Rich Hill and Buford volunteer fire departments responded to the blaze just after 1 a.m. at a home in the 4300 block of Taxahaw Road, according to a Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office incident report. 

Thick smoke was already pouring from the front and back doors of the home when deputies arrived. 

The homeowner, a 36-year-old Lancaster man, told deputies he and his family left the home about 8 p.m. after working on his daughter’s school project. Following a shopping trip and a bite to eat, the family returned about 1:10 a.m. to find the house on fire, the report said. 

“(The homeowner) stated that when they returned he could see smoke coming from the rear of the residence,” the report said. 

Fire personnel at the scene requested a sheriff’s office investigator due to suspicious fire damage found on a couch in the front room of the mobile home, the report said. 

“Fire damage to the structure was located at the rear of the structure, while the couch was located in the front room away from the fire,” the report said.

In the report, investigators noted specific damage to the couch. 

“The damage to the couch was confined to one end of the couch and is ‘circular’ in appearance,” the report said. 

Investigators asked the homeowner who could have possibly set the fire. He said the back door to the home was unlocked, so anyone could have entered. 

Lancaster County Fire Marshal Stephen Blackwelder said Monday, Jan. 27, that no one was injured and the fire only burned a small portion of the mobile home. Citing a fire report, he said the origin may have been a breaker box near the couch, though it is still undetermined. 

“Very little water was used to put out the fire, less than 400 gallons,” Blackwelder said. “There was not a whole lot of damage, though there was smoke and heat damage throughout the home. It’s not a total loss by any stretch of the imagination.”

The initial estimated damage to the home and furnishings was $20,000, the sheriff’s report said. 

The investigation was later turned over to crime scene investigators with the sheriff’s office. 

“CSI is involved in this investigation, though I’m not sure where it has gone since,” Blackwelder said. “There is some suspicion about the fire and we called in the sheriff’s office to investigate.”

Neither the status of the investigation nor the cause of the fire were known at presstime. 


Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416