Originally created 05/20/00

Fires break out near Aiken



AIKEN - Drought and breezy conditions Friday turned a small brush fire into nearly 30 acres of charred brush and trees between Hillman Road and Legion Road.

Jody Rowland, Chief Deputy of Aiken County Sheriff Office, said the fire began as a small trickle but whipped out of control in a matter of seconds.

"Then a 30 mile per hour wind came up and that little trickle of fire turned into a 40 foot wall," he said.

Lieutenant William Randall of the Langley Volunteer Fire Department led the response to the wooded area between .

"We came very close to losing some structures," he said. "We are very fortunate that we didn't lose any."

About 14 residents were asked to evacuate but most chose to stay and protect their homes.

Homeowner Jerry Burkett helped direct traffic as the more than dozen firefighter and public safety departments battled blazes along Legion road.

"I thought the fire department did a really good job," he said.

The cause is still unknown but reports that two juveniles were involved are under investigation.