South Carolina Radio Network’s Tripp Girardeau contributed to this article
Three Kershaw County teens are charged with setting fires so they could help firefighters put out the blazes.
Law enforcement agents with the South Carolina Forestry Commission arrested three adults: Charlene Arrington (38), Mark Branham (19), Jacob Eddings (18), and one juvenile Thursday night. All were charged with woods arson, or “willfully burning lands of another.”
SCFC investigators say the three boys admitted to setting three fires along Bookman Road and White Pond Road in Kershaw County, while Arrington only admits to driving them. Officials said Arrington was an “acquaintance” of the three teens.
Forestry Commission Spokesman Scott Hawkins says the juvenile was a member of the Blaney (Elgin) Fire Station’s “Explorer” Youth Program, which trains and equips teens to help firefighters on the scene.
Unfortunately what we’ve found in this instance is that it’s an inspiring firefighter, a 14-year-old who’s involved in a fire department program…someone who has goals in life and just apparently took a wrong turn.
Forestry Commission Law Enforcement Chief David West said the boys called 911 after the fires had been set in order to participate in the efforts to put them out.
Police say the three adults spent the night in jail while the 14-year-old was put into the custody of his grandparents.