In April, the worst wildfire South Carolina had ever seen spread through Horry County land destroying 76 homes. Today, the man charged in connection with starting that fire stood trial in Myrtle Beach solely on charges for the debris burn in his yard, not for the wildfire. State Forestry spokesman Scott Hawkins says at the last minute this morning, Marc Torchi struck a plea deal with the judge.
“He pled guilty for both tickets we had written him for that outdoor debris burn on April 18 that burned his neighbors land. So, he was fined $732, which is pretty much the maximum fine for these two tickets which were written,” says Hawkins.
Hawkins explains what the tickets were for: “Failure to notify the South Carolina Forestry Commission about an outdoor debris burn, and allowing fire to spread the lands of another,” says Hawkins.
Hawkins says today’s trial was based on the tickets Torchi had received solely for his backyard burn.
“He was not on trial for the larger, Horry County wildfire that got national headlines. He’s implicated in it in the court of public opinion obviously because our investigators determined that that outdoor debris burn was the point of origin for the wildfire. But, he had that burn on April 18, Horry County fire officials put it out, they thought before the wildfire,” says Hawkins.
Torchi pled guilty only to the charges against him dealing with his personal fire, not the Horry County wildfire. Torchi has until November 16 to pay the $732.