Barbara Roscoe is glad she didn’t stay in town any longer last Wednesday afternoon. “If I had, I probably wouldn’t have had a house to come home to,” she said.
Roscoe had been home for less than 30 minutes when she just happened to look out the front door. “All I saw was black! The air was black with smoke,” she said. “Oh my God, 911 here I come!”
At that time, the fire was burning in a small patch of pine trees across the road from her home on Market Street Extension in the Teals Mill community. Roscoe continued to make frantic calls to her husband, who was at work in North Carolina, friends and neighbors, asking them to come help.
Roscoe watched in horror as flames, fueled by gusts of winds that one fire fighter said reached 47 mph, “jumped the road” and immediately started fires all across her front yard. “Within no time, before they (the fire department) could even get here, flames were all the way around and behind my house.”
“Jimmy Davis, my neighbor, helped me get the water hoses and we were able to keep it away from the front of the house,” said Roscoe. “But every time we’d put water on it, the flames would come right back up.”
In fact, firefighters remained on the scene for more than three hours that afternoon, said Teals Mill Assistant Fire Chief Junior Kerns, to look for any more hot spots that might flare up.
The fire melted the underpinning of a neighbor’s mobile home and destroyed a fence between the two properties. “We were very lucky to have saved five structures and a mobile home with that wind like it was,” said Teals Mill Fire Chief J.P. Presson.
The Teals Mill Fire Department responded first, but were assisted by the Cheraw Fire Department with a brush and pumper truck, and 14 firefighters, said Cheraw Fireman Chris Sellers. The Wallace Fire Department also assisted.
South Carolina Forestry Commission firefighters were on hand as well, and would be the agency to press any charges. According to Winfield McCaskill, law enforcement officer for the forestry commission, the fire started at a property on Valley Lane. For now, the investigation is still ongoing.
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, or my email at email@example.com.