Homeowner files lawsuit over Horry Co. wildfire

By Laura Thomas - bio | email

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Nearly one year after the most destructive wildfire in South Carolina history, one woman is looking to hold someone responsible for the disaster that damaged her home.

Homeowner Francis Eaton filed the suit last week and claims that Marc Torchi is in fact responsible for the blaze, in addition to eventual damage to her property.

In October 2009,Torchi paid a fine of more than $700 for two tickets for failing to notify the South Carolina Forestry Commission before doing an outdoor burn and for allowing that burn on his property to spread to another piece of land. He, however, was not charged for starting the wildfire.

People who live in the Barefoot Resort community, the residential area hit hardest by the flames, had very mixed opinions about whether or not Torchi is responsible and if the lawsuit should have been filed.

"My first thought is [that] I'm delighted someone cares enough to go ahead with that, just to bring it to the attention of the whole area, and be aware that something like this can happen," explained Barefoot resident Bill Maxwell.

On the other hand, resident Bob McClerman says that he does not think the Eaton should have filed the suit.

"I don't think she should have done it," said McClerman. "I don't think this guy has any responsibility for the fire."

Eaton's attorney did not have a comment on this story. Torchi's attorney did not return a request for a response.

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