Series of neighborhood fires spark arson investigations in Spartanburg

SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Four fires over two months all within the same Spartanburg neighborhood.

“We could’ve been asleep and it could’ve killed us. It was very very scary,” said John May.

John May still remembers the June 16th fire doors from his apartment on North Thompson Street.

Investigators believe someone threw some type of flammable object through the window.

“We were about to go to bed and we got a knock on the door and the lady said hey your apartment building on fire,” said May.

That was six weeks after a fire at 206 North Forest Street, across from Miracle Hill Rescue Mission.

“The flames were shooting through the roof,” said Miracle Hill Rescue Mission Director Calvin Vinson.

That was the second fire at that same house. Weeks before, another fire destroyed the garage on the property.

The charred remains of a house on Walker Street mark the most recent case. That fire happened on June 29 at the home behind the homeless shelter.

That’s just across the fence from the homeless shelter.

“There’s a good possibility the ones [fires] we’re having now are all connected,” said Spartanburg Senior Deputy Fire Marshall William Smart. “It looks like they were done with what we call readily available material. Open flame and product like a piece of wood or paper they’ve picked up somewhere.”

Another trend in the fires — the homes were vacant and frequented by the homeless.

“Maybe it’s a sign that we need to move in a more expedient manner to get the homes fixed. If they’re not livable, then why are they still up?” said Vinson.

Until the abandoned properties are addressed, fire investigators need help catching who’s setting them on fire because of the danger this poses for the community.

“I’m not sure who’s doing it or what’s going on but we’d like to have it stopped,” said May.

An arson conviction can mean hefty fines and years in prison. Anyone with information is asked to call Spartanburg City Fire Marshalls at 864.596.2446 or the arson hotline at SLED at 1-800-92-ARSON.

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