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Owner implicated in Horry County wildfire faces lawsuit

Apr 21, 2010 7:02:00 AM - thestate.com
A year after a wildfire chewed through more than 19,000 acres and destroyed 76 homes, the man whose backyard brush fire was blamed for the blaze is facing a lawsuit filed by a homeowner.

Marc Torchi was burning debris in a wire basket three feet from a wooded area on April 18, 2009, when the flames spread onto a neighbor's property. Torchi called Horry County Fire Rescue, which came twice to the home at 2230 Woodlawn Drive, east of Conway, to extinguish the blaze, according to Torchi and investigator reports.

Investigators said they traced the wildfire that erupted April 22, 2009, and spread north and east to the Barefoot Resort area to Torchi's backyard blaze.

He pleaded guilty and was fined $732 for allowing fire to spread to another's land and failing to notify the state Forestry Commission about the outdoor debris burn in his backyard. But Torchi, through his attorney Paul Taylor, denied that his fire was to blame for the blaze that caused more than $25 million in damage.

Neither Torchi nor Taylor could be reached to comment for this article.

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