By DEUCE NIVEN
Fire at a vacant Whiteville area house that is believed to have been intentionally set had been bought a week earlier by a Green Sea man, records at the Columbus County Register of Deeds show.
Johnny Dale Bruton of Green Sea bought the house at 1783 Harrelsonville Road on Jan. 8, records on file at the Columbus County Register of Deeds office show.
Bruton bought the home from Allen Wayne “Frog” Strickland of Tabor City, who bought the property under tax foreclosure last October, records show.
A story on the fire in today’s Tabor-Loris Tribune print and online e-edition reports that Strickland owned the house when it burned on Thursday. A clerk in the Register of Deeds office checked records on Tuesday, did not locate the Jan. 8 sale, and told this newspaper that Strickland was the owner.
Strickland said he is in the business of buying and selling properties, as he did in this case. Records show he made $1,000, buying the property for $9,000, selling it to Bruton for $10,000.
Bruton was making renovations to the house, and only had insurance to cover building materials in the event of theft.
“He’s not even filing an insurance claim,” Strickland said.
Efforts to contact Bruton for this story were not successful.
It appears that the fire was intentionally set, Columbus County Deputy Fire Marshal Shannon Blackman said Tuesday.
“There was no power to the house,” Blackman said. “I’m showing this as an incendiary fire.”