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Burning acres

Posted: February 20, 2011 12:39 p.m.
Updated: February 21, 2011 5:00 a.m.

A line of flame advances south toward S.C. 34 (Bishopville Highway) near Pine Tree Hill Elementary School (PTHS) Saturday afternoon.

Antioch Fire Department Chief Morgan Spitzer and Asst. Chief Brian Cox said the fire started around 4:15 p.m. when three children were playing with a lighter about 200 feet from their home on Hermitage Pond Road. They said the fire quickly spread, pushed by southern winds, engulfing some 45 acres of straw fields and planted pines.

Spitzer and Cox said dozens of other firefighters from Camden, Lugoff, Kershaw County Fire Service and Lee County responded. Winds were strong enough that the fire “jumped” S.C. 34 near PTHS, forcing them to shut down the road for about two hours. Five acres of cow pasture were burned on the southern side of S.C. 34, Spitzer said.

He said firefighters would monitor the scene over the weekend, due to a fear of higher winds today. A Red Flag warning has been issued.

Spitzer said firefighters were “lucky” since the winds didn’t shift to threaten homes or PTHS. He said homes on Colony Drive were evacuated for a time as a precaution and that the flames passed over a gas line that also runs behind the school.

Two dead trees near Hermitage Pond Road were left to burn themselves out.

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