Three Carolina Fires May Be Related

Horry County police are investigating whether the same group of people are to blame for at least two house fires early Sunday morning in Loris, and possibly a third that damaged a model home near Conway.

Five Tabor City, N.C., residents were arrested in connection with a 4:43 a.m. blaze that destroyed a home at the intersection of Joyner Swamp and Mill Pond Road in Loris, said Horry County arson investigator Van Sissell.

Another fire broke out about 1:30 a.m. on nearby Shoebuckle Road, Sissell said.

Sissell said investigators still are determining whether the Shoebuckle Road fire was arson.

Police still are investigating whether the fires may have been set by the same people. No one was injured in either blaze.

Firefighters fought another blaze about 1:30 a.m. at the corner of Wake Forest Road and U.S. 501, Sissell said.

The fire, which is being treated as an arson, damaged the rear of a model home.

Arrests came quickly after the blaze was extinguished on Joyner Swamp Road.

All five suspects were arrested near the scene of the blaze, Sissell said.

Two girls, 13 and 16, were released to their parents but could be charged as adults.

The other suspects, ages 18 to 21, remained in J. Reuben Long Detention Center on Sunday night, he said.

The fire was set in the rear bedroom of the empty house, Sissell said.

The suspects told police they were visiting a friend in Aynor when they stopped by the empty house. When they left the residence, they saw it was on fire.

The fire probably was caused by someone setting fire to a mattress, Sissell said.

Sissell expects arson charges to be filed today against the N.C. residents.