SC woman: Don't blame husband for wildfire

Megan Brogan, wife of Mark Torchi (Photo courtesy of postandcourier.com)
Megan Brogan, wife of Mark Torchi (Photo courtesy of postandcourier.com)

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The wife of a man who started a South Carolina trash fire that is blamed for igniting a raging wildfire that has destroyed more than 20,000 acres of land says her family did everything they could to put out the weekend blaze.

Megan Brogan, whose husband Marc Torchi has been ticketed in connection to the Horry County wildfire, says he called 911 when the trash he was burning got out of control.  She says Horry County firefighters responded, but did nothing to fight the fire and her family doused it with a hose.

"They told us 'Don't worry about it.  The fire is extintuished,'" Brogan told WMBF News on Sunday afternoon.  "There was no fire, no smoke, no smoldering for four days."

Horry County Fire Rescue spokesman Todd Cartner, however, is defending the actions of his company's firefighters Friday night.

Cartner says according to 911 records, responders were dispatched to the Torchi home, located on Woodlawn Drive, twice last Saturday.  Upon arrival to the first call, scanner traffic archives for Horry County show the residents called back to emergency dispatch, cancelling the call.

Horry County Fire Rescue policy shows that despite a residence cancelling a call, fire engines still respond.  After arriving, responders deemed the fire Torchi was burning was under control.

An hour later, fire fighters responded to the residence a second time, and that time doused the blaze with water.  Responders were on scene for an hour and a half, Cartner noted.

According to Horry County Fire Rescue records, the fire was completely extinguished by the fire department on the second visit to the Woodlawn Drive residence.  Cartner says no other calls were placed from that address regarding a fire until Wednesday at 12:01 p.m.

Forestry Commission Forest Protection Chief Darryl Jones noted Friday the fire was set some 10 miles from where homes were burnt to the ground.  He claims flames rekindled, creating the wildfire that started raging through shrubs and woods on Wednesday.

Torchi was ticketed twice by fire officials for a total of $732 on Thursday.

He now faces charges of failing to notify the forestry commission and for allowing the fire to spread to the land of another.  Burning man-made trash is illegal in South Carolina, according to officials.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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