Mullins Fire Chief believes controlled burn sparks 2 brush fires

MULLINS, SC (WMBF) - A fire burned about 60 acres of pasture on Tuesday. What began as a controlled agricultural burn soon engulfed the entire plot of land. Mullins Firefighters were the first on the scene, but soon called for backup after realizing the potential danger of the fire spreading.

The brush fire burned about 60 acres near Tranquil Church Road in Mullins and was contained by about 4:40 p.m. Tuesday, Mullins Fire Rescue officials confirmed. Crews responded to reports of the brush fire at about 3 p.m. and requested mutual aid from Marion City and Marion Rural fire departments.

The fire expanded to over 25 acres about 20 minutes later, destroying three structures in the process. The South Carolina Forestry Commission was called to the scene to establish a break in the fire line.

Mullins Fire and Rescue Chief, Robert Stetson, describes what first came to mind when arriving on scene.

"Because we saw how extensive it was and the size of it, the main objective - it wasn't going to hurt anything out here but pasture. So what we were trying to do was focus on residences and exposures," Stetson said.

The fire came within feet of the home of an 83-year-old woman who was not home at the time. Her friend and house sitter said she lives in Tennessee with her son during the winter months and that she will not be home for few more weeks.

Chief Stetson says about 50 firefighters were on scene for about three hours. The fire was extinguished, but there were still remaining hotspots that they treated with water before leaving the scene.

At around 7 p.m. they were called back to a small fire in the area. Chief Stetson believes an ember from the previous fire went airborne and into the woods. He says they will be checking on the area every few hours and the South Carolina Forestry Commission was also on the scene overnight to create a fire break and prevent it from spreading.

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