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Greg Rollins and his wife stood across the street from their Orangeburg home Friday morning and watched helplessly as fire engulfed it.

“Everything is gone. Everything is gone. Even the vehicles, they’re gone,” Rollins said.

Rollins, his wife and their son lived there for the past 11 years.

No one was at home when the fire broke out. Rollins and his wife were at work and their son was at school.

Nothing but memories seemed to survive the fire, but a Bible was found in one of the charred vehicles. It had minimal smoke and heat damage.

“My belief is that it was divine intervention,” Lt. Robert Hill of the Orangeburg Department of Public Safety said about the Bible. It did not have a flame-resistant cover.

“When we got there, the home was 85 to 90 percent involved,” Hill said.

A neighbor called 911 at 10:34 a.m. and firefighters were on the scene at 10:36 a.m., he noted.

The cause and origin of the fire remains under investigation. Hill said it appears to have started in a bedroom and was likely due to a space heater that was left unattended.

Hill said firefighters and crew left the scene at 2:35 p.m.

He also noted that the Orangeburg County Office of Emergency Services deployed a newly acquired drone to assist in fighting the fire.

Hill said, “They got it above the fire and used thermal imaging, showing where the hotspots were.”

Rollins said he was expecting a heating and air conditioning repairman to visit his home at 1 p.m. to discuss what may be wrong with the unit.

Instead of meeting the repairman there, he received a call from his neighbor telling him that his house was on fire and he hurried home.

Rollins said the heating unit stopped working between Wednesday and Thursday night.

He set up a space heater to keep his family warm on Thursday night.

“I know I cut everything off. I thought I did anyway,” he said.

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Contact the writer: or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD


Staff Writer

Martha Rose Brown covers crime and other topics. The South Carolina native has been a journalist for the past 16 years.

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