Man charged with arson in fire that killed several pets

Franklin (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office)
Franklin (Source: Florence County Sheriff's Office)
Photo of the home on Laurel Circle (Source: WMBF News Reporter Crystal Moyer)
Photo of the home on Laurel Circle (Source: WMBF News Reporter Crystal Moyer)

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) A Florence man has been charged with arson and ill treatment of animals following a fire police say he started in the home where he lived.

Family members say 28 year-old Phillip Franklin lived inside the Florence home with his mother.

They say this isn't the first time his anger got him in trouble with the law, but say they never thought his temper would get so out of hand he'd set fire to his own home.

The Fire Chief with the Windy Hill Fire Department says crews were dispatched to Laurel Circle in Florence Monday night after a neighbor called about a house fire.

That's when they said they found an agitated Franklin sitting on his lawn and called for backup.

"They asked that we come and investigate because it did appear suspicious in nature," said Captain Mike Nunn with the Florence County Sheriff's Office.

Windy Hill Firefighters say it only took about five minutes for Franklin to tell them he set his home on fire.

"The area of origin is in the kitchen but all investigations on this case is preliminary," said Nunn.

Nunn says investigators collected evidence and debris from the scene to send to SLED for processing.

He says the results won't change the third degree arson charge Franklin is facing.

Investigators say the home wasn't the only thing that perished in the fire.

They found the remains of three dogs and two cats in the debris.

And that has Franklin facing another charge.

"He is also charged with ill treatment of animals, we understand that there were several animals that were in the home that perished in the fire and the suspect was aware the animals were there," said Nunn.

Family members say the pets belonged to Franklin's mother who owns the property.

Neighbors say the two had frequent disagreements but investigators are staying tight-lipped about the on-going investigation into other family matters.

"We're not going to comment on any other investigation or any other possible charges at this time," said Nunn.

Franklin is still at the Florence county detention center on $100,000 surety bond.

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