EASLEY — Police are looking for several individuals for questioning after a house fire near Hagood Park was deemed “suspicious” by fire department officials.
The house, located at 204 Liberty Drive, had been unoccupied for years before it caught fire early Thursday afternoon, said Easley Fire Chief Butch Womack.
“It was odd how the call came in,” said Womack. “It was actually a person in the area that we think we need to talk to. Someone went and told some Parks and Rec folks that there was a house on fire. Then they (parks and rec) came out and told a police officer and it was the police officer that called us. Kind of like a domino effect.”
Womack said the department was on scene “a good 15 minutes” before the fire was brought under control.
“Right now we’re looking at several different people in the area that are a concern to us that we’d like to talk to,” he said. “But of course the police are taking care of that end of it.”
According to Easley public records, the three-bedroom house was built in 1951 and had a 2016 tax assessment of $149,400.
At the scene of the fire, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office blocked traffic on Liberty Drive and assisted at the scene along with the Easley Police Department. Cars were detoured around Hagood Park and up to Highland Road.
Bystanders reported water blasting from the hoses with such force that the spray could be seen tearing through the roof. The water pressure sent shingles exploding upward as firefighters worked to contain the blaze.
Other than the thick plumes of smoke — that could be smelled all throughout the downtown area — neighboring houses were not affected.
“There wasn’t a lot of furniture or anything in there, so that helped,” said the chief. “And because the house was vacant it’s not like a family was displaced or anything.”
Womack said the man who lived there had died 10 to 15 years prior and the property was now owned by his son, an attorney who lives in Virginia.
“I think he paid a guy locally to cut the grass and just kind of keep an eye on it,” he said. “Kind of a sad story really.”
Easley Combined Utilities was contacted to cut power to the house and Fort Hill Natural Gas removed a meter from the building.
Womack said the actual cause of the fire has yet to be determined and is still under investigation.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.