Pair of fires at same Lancaster Co. home investigated as arson

by: Greg Suskin Updated:

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LANCASTER, S.C. - Sylvia Faulkenberry stared at her brother's Lancaster County home, disgusted.

"It's terrible.  It takes your stomach away to think that someone could do that to somebody," she said.

Lancaster County sheriff's deputies are investigating two suspicious fires as cases of arson. Early Friday morning, county firefighters were called to a house on Old Hillside Drive off of Highway 903, where an old Chevy pickup truck was on fire.

Firefighters put out the fire and left the scene at 5:48 a.m. Barely 30 minutes later, they were back to fight a fire at the house. The rear of it was engulfed in flames.

Sheriff's deputies immediately called the fires suspicious because of the great distance from the truck to the house.

"The vehicle is way away from the house," said Major Matt Shaw. "And then an hour and a half or so later we're back, and the house is on fire."

Homeowner Henry McClain lived in the house alone according to family members. His mother, Gladys Pressley, said he had just left Thursday for a vacation in the mountains. 

He got the terrible news Friday morning.

"It's going to be real hard for him. He says he doesn't know what he's going to do now," Pressley said.

McClain, 57, has a garage business behind his home, and Faulkenberry said he's spent most of his life repairing cars and trucks.

"He did that since he was a teenager. He loves it," she said. "He's worked so hard. I hope whoever did this comes forward."

Detectives are looking for suspects and questioning people who know McClain or had dealings with him.

They spent much of Friday walking through the rubble, looking for traces of accelerants, or any evidence of arson. They would not discuss what, if anything, was found.

The home is considered a total loss. 

Pressley said there's plenty of family around to support her son.

"I hate that this happened to him. It's just sad," she said.