On today’s front page, we report on a pair of arson cases involving people’s homes being investigated by the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) in the Camden area.
The first fire took place on a county portion of Chestnut Ferry Road Ext. just down from American Legion Post No. 17. The Camden Fire Department (CFD) estimates losses around $45,000, a little more than half the value of the home and its contents. An elderly woman living there was taken to the hospital for “overexertion.”
It’s unclear exactly who set the fire and why, but the KCSO report -- as delineated in our story -- includes references to some possibilities.
The second fire took place southeast of Camden on Hunter Lane near Seegars Mill and Spring Hill roads. As in the first case, damage is estimated around 50 percent. Luckily, no one was inside the rented mobile home at the time.
A KCSO report on this fire points a strong finger at a particular suspect.
Let us make two things very clear, however. First, we find arson to be one of the more reprehensible crimes someone can commit; the potential loss of life and property can be staggering.
Second, we are not stating in our stories or even here in this editorial that the potential supsects are guilty of anything. We use words and phrases such as “according to,” “reportedly” and “allegedly” to point out that it is law enforcement agents and/or the witnesses and victims they speak with who are claiming such people are possibly responsible.
We all will need to be patient as the KCSO and the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) complete their investigations. Only then will we report that people have been arrested.
Remember, Americans enjoy the right of being presumed innocent until proven guilty. Somewhere down the line, those arrested for these arsons may plead guilty or be found guilty by a jury.
Until then, we express our sympathies to the victims and encourage the KCSO and SLED on their efforts to bring those who are involved to justice.