A Beaufort man pleaded guilty last week to setting off fireworks that caused a large brush fire that burned for hours on Lemon Island last month and briefly shut down traffic on S.C. 170.
The man, who lives on Center Drive in Beaufort, appeared June 14 in Beaufort County Magistrate Court after being charged by the S.C. Forestry Commission with two misdemeanor counts of littering and negligently allowing fire to spread to lands or property of another, according to court records.
The 44-year-old man was issued citations but not arrested or booked into the Beaufort County Detention Center, records show.
The charges were brought after remnants of the fireworks found by investigators at the scene of the May 2 fire were traced to a store in Hardeeville and then back to the Beaufort man who bought them, said Scott Hawkins, Forestry Commission spokesman.
The man later admitted to setting off fireworks on the island the night before the fire, Hawkins said.
The fire briefly caused all four lanes of S.C. 170 to be closed. Later, only one alternating lane of traffic was opened through the area as dark smoke wafted across the highway.
Within about three hours of arriving on the scene, state and local fire officials had contained the fire, but it smoldered for several days.
The man paid $940 in fines but was not sentenced to jail, court records show.
- SC 170 brush fire out; investigation into cause continues, May 3, 2012
- SC 170 traffic clogged as firefighters fight Lemon Island brush fire, May 2, 2012