Authorities are investigating the cause of two house fires that began around the same time and on the same street Sunday morning.
Clover and Bethany fire departments responded around 5:20 a.m. to find a house ablaze on the corner of Calhoun and Smith Streets in Clover. Once on scene, firefighters soon noticed smoke coming from a house next door to the other fire on Smith Street, according to Clover Fire Chief Charlie Love.
Firefighters from York Fire Department were then called in to assist in containing both fires.
The home facing Calhoun Street was a total loss, Love said, with only a charred skeleton of the structure remaining on the Smith Street side. But firefighters were able to quickly contain the fire to the second home, limiting the damage to what the chief estimated to be about $40-50,000.
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Once the flames were under control, investigators were called to the scene to determine how the two fires could have started so close together. Love said the fires appear to have started separately and it was not a case of a fire in one home spreading to the other.
While one house was destroyed, the other home primarily had damage to the interior with little visible damage from the street except for burn marks around the door frame and windows, and a patch where firefighters ventilated the top of the roof.
While Love said he’s seen cases where heat radiating from one house can ignite nearby structures, it seems unlikely two separate fires starting under these circumstances are a coincidence.
“That stretches the imagination,” he said.
Despite the early start to the fires, no one was injured at either house. The owner of the Calhoun Street house was determined to be out of town once investigators were able to contact him, and the resident at the Smith Street was at work at the time the fire began.
“She actually pulled up as we were fighting the fire,” Love said.
No cause for either fire was determined Sunday. The twin blazes are under investigation by the York County Fire Marshal’s office, which declined to comment.