News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Jan. 25, 2013
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW) -- Officers are questioning a person of interest in a North Augusta house fire.
It's just a skeleton of a house now, and while investigators are still questioning their person of interest, to the neighbors, there's no question who did it.
When News 12 asked next-door neighbor Kory Powell what she heard her neighbor say, she responded saying, "I just lit the house on fire, you might as well call 911."
Powell stood in disbelief as she watched flames rip through the house next door on Long Leaf Court.
"First law enforcement on the scene was from Aiken County. They encountered a woman that is one of the occupants of the house," said North Augusta Public Safety Officer Lt. Tim Thornton.
"She walked out, yelled that, sat on her front porch and watched her house build up into flames until the cop was coming. As soon as he got here, she put her arms around her back and said take me," Powell said.
Flames at least 30 feet high and thick black smoke you could see from miles away covered the house.
Six fire departments were called in to help tame the flames.
"We've had fire departments from Belvedere, Midland Valley, Meriweather, Aiken County, Beech Island, Langley. Those fire departments were all on the scene assisting us with extinguishing the fire," Thornton said.
But investigators say this was no normal house fire.
"We do have a person of interest that we have taken to the station. We have strong indication that this was an arson-type fire," Thornton said.
What firefighters didn't expect was a lack of water.
"The water situation was critical. We had to perform a water shuttle using different fire apparatuses to get the water to the fire," he explained.
What used to be a roof is now a crumbled, ashy mess.
"It's going to be hard to believe that there's anything salvageable from the house," Thornton said.
It took firefighters more than an hour to get the fire under control. No one was injured in the blaze.
SLED will be taking over the investigation.