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Blaze in yard linked to massive South Carolina wildfire

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Firefighters responded twice to a weekend yard fire that South Carolina officials believe rekindled four days later, igniting a massive wildfire that has destroyed 70 homes and continued to char 31 square miles near Myrtle Beach on Friday.

Officials said homes were still being threatened by the flames but late-day winds had yet to cause it to spread farther. No injuries have been reported but damage estimates rose to $16 million for the blaze.

Meanwhile, the wife and neighbors of Marc Torchi, the man being fined for setting the yard fire, said county firefighters who responded twice Saturday to the small blaze should take the blame, not him.

“They came back again, put the fire out again and said we were all fine – ‘Don’t worry about it.’ And then four days later, the wildfire broke out,” said Torchi’s wife, Megan Brogan. She said the family was getting death threats.

Forestry Commission Forest Protection Chief Darryl Jones said it’s common for brush fires to appear to be out but then smolder underground and rekindle. But he said blame belongs to the person who set it.

Todd Cartner, a spokesman for Horry County Fire Rescue, said there are too many potential causes of the massive wildfire for the initial yard blaze to be linked to it.

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