Was the Summersett Sub-Division Fire Arson?

Media reports are split on whether a fire that killed an unidentified couple was set intentionally or not. The fire erupted around 6:30 a.m. in a home located on Belle Terre Court near Furman University early Saturday and so far authorities have been coy about the cause, leading many to assume that arson investigators have indeed found evidence of foul play.

WPSA reports on the story this way:

Investigators from the Greenville County Sheriff’s office and the State Law Enforcement Division are at the scene of a house fire that has killed two people in Greenville County.

According to authorities, firefighters from the Duncan Chapel Fire Department responded to a fire around 7 am at a home at 1 Belle Terre Ct., in the Summerset Manor sub-division, near Furman University. Authorities with the Greenville County coroner’s office tell News Channel 7 that two people have died as a result of the fire.

Greenville County Sheriff’s spokesperson Melissia McKinney, says that when officers arrived at the scene, the home was fully engulfed in flames. McKinney says that they have not determined a cause of the fire, but arson investigators from the Sheriff’s Office are at the scene and investigators from the State Law Enforcement Division are assisting in the investigation.

A source close to the investigation tells News Channel 7 that the cause of the fire is “suspicious” in nature.

More importantly they provide this fact that makes foul play seem probable:

Neighbors say the couple had just moved in about three months ago. “When people perish in a fire it can just really hit you. They don’t really seem to have a chance to get out,“ Penny Bostain said about her neighbors. Bostain says the couple walked their dog several times a day.

A couple in their 40s with a dog who they’re used to walking several times a day seem unlikely to have slept through a blaze until it was too late. Dog owners know that a dog is quick to warn owners of what it perceives as danger, and always willing to wake up a couple when they want something. Though they could all simply have been heavy sleepers.

Greenville Online is also reporting that the fire was suspicious and that there’s been an increase in fire deaths state wide, which if course is unlikely to be related, but The Greenville News likes to keep you on your toes by putting trivia into their reports.

WYFF, however, is more cautious, noting that arson investigations are standard procedure for any fire related death. Reporters for Fox Carolina have not updated their original report which states that officials were not calling the fire suspicious.

Update, December 7, 2009: [The Greenville County Coroner's Office has ruled the deaths a homicide/suicide.  Please see our latest report for details.]

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One Response to “Was the Summersett Sub-Division Fire Arson?”

  1. Suspicious Blaze Near Furman Ruled Homicide/Suicide : Greenville Dragnet on December 7th, 2009 11:57 pm

    [...] fatal fire that claimed the lives of two residents Saturday has been ruled a homicide/suicide by the [...]

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