3rd suspicious fire hits Hilton Head home

astice@islandpacket.comDecember 11, 2012 

An early morning fire Tuesday damaged this Oakview Road home on Hilton Head Island. Officials believe the fire started on the front porch and spread to a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. The fire is considered suspicious.


  • Anyone with information about the fires set at Oakview Road should call the S.C. Arson Hotline at 1-800-92-ARSON (27766) or the Beaufort County Dispatch Center at 843-524-2777. A reward may be offered if information leads to an arrest and indictment.

His shed was burned in August. On Monday, his gazebo. On Tuesday, a suspicious fire again struck the home of Hilton Head Island resident Joseph Miller, this time destroying part of his house.

Shortly before 5 a.m., firefighters with the Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division arrived at 74 Oakview Road, barely 24 hours after they last battled a blaze there.

Like the other two, this fire was not an accident, fire officials say. It broke out on the front porch and soon spread to a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen in a wing of the home.

Miller, who built the house himself, said he awoke to find the house full of smoke. He and his son escaped without injuries and were attempting to put out the fire with a garden hose when firefighters arrived.

Four engines, a truck company, a medic unit and the battalion chief helped stop the blaze before it reached the main section of the house, but the rooms in the wing were destroyed.

The house is a collection of rooms Miller built from scrap material without blueprints over the years. It winds around oaks and tangerine trees, with additions such as a balcony and a raised deck.

Tuesday's recent fire has forced Miller out of his home for a while.

"Even though the rest of the house is fine, there's no power because the electricity had to be disconnected," division spokeswoman Joheida Fister said.

The Lowcountry chapter of the American Red Cross gave Miller and his 18-year-old son temporary housing and money to buy food.

Miller said he doesn't understand what is happening.

"I don't know why somebody would want to burn the house down," he said. "We're really trying to make the best of it."

The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office is in charge of the investigation. More samples were collected from Tuesday's blaze to be tested at its arson lab.

"There are still no suspects and no definitive motive behind the fires that are targeted at this home," spokeswoman Sgt. Robin McIntosh said Tuesday.

Related content:

Island home again target of suspicious fire, Dec. 10, 2012

Suspicious fire burns down Hilton Head man's shed, Aug. 21, 2012

Hilton head man uses his 'junk' to create real spirit of Christmas, Dec. 22, 2009

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