Effingham County house fire ruled arson - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Effingham County house fire ruled arson

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Who would deliberately set a home on fire with children inside? And why?

Those are the questions the Effingham County Sheriff's Office is trying to answer.

The fire broke out in the 2000 block of Courthouse Road on Monday. No one was hurt, but the sheriff's office has yet another arson case to deal with.

The family was shocked, and even more confused. They live in a very private area with not many other homes around. They moved in only a few months ago and said they don't have any enemies.

Both the sheriff's office and the family said it is obvious the fire was set intentionally and are glad it was not worse.

"It's devastating to come home to," said Daniel Dale.

Dale and his family can't wrap their heads around what they see.

"We just moved into this place four months ago," he said.

Now the entire home has to be redone. Sheriff's deputies said the fire started just before noon with three children and an 18 year old inside.

"It's mind boggling that someone would set fire to a house with kids from ages seven to 11 and an 18 year old in the house, running around and making noise."

Luckily, they were able to get out. Dale said that is all thanks to his son.

"I was very happy," he said. I told him, ‘you did good. You got the animals and the kids out.' I was very proud of him."

The left side of the house is destroyed, and you can see from inside the home that the ceiling had to be ripped out and the water and smoke damage is extensive. If that is not bad enough, someone also smashed their car.

After looking at what is left, Dale believes he knows exactly how it started.

"We had a five gallon can of diesel fuel sitting over by the shed, and that is completely empty," Dale said. "Once you ver over to the house, you can smell the diesel fuel."

The sheriff's office said they are still investigating and no arrests have been made. Effingham County recently hired a fire investigator from the State Fire Marshal's Office, and they say that really sped up the investigation.

"Dan Mueller, the fire investigator, was able to get on scene within about 20 minutes, and we were able to rule this arson in just a couple of hours," said Sheriff's Spokesman David Ehsanipoor.

Ehsanipoor also said they believe the fire was isolated and the general public has no reason to worry.  

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