2017-10-04 / Front Page

Popular Halloween site goes up in flames

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By TIM GULLA
Ledger Staff Writer

For the past seven years Matt Davis and a dedicated group of volunteers have been trying to put fear into haunted house fans each Halloween season.

A destructive fire that tore through “The Fear Farm” in Blacksburg late Sunday led to a completely different emotion once the smoke cleared.

“All of the people that work here are just as sad as we are,” Davis said Monday morning while standing beside the burned remains of the haunted house.

While the local tourist attraction, which just opened for the season Saturday, will continue operating — it still has other activities on site such as a corn maze, a pitch black maze and an escape room — the 8,000 square-foot haunted house was a total loss.

Nothing but timbers and a small section of roof of the haunted house, which was built in an old barn, remained Monday morning as SLED fire investigators arrived to help the Cherokee County Sheriff ’s Office at the scene.

The cause of the fire remains unknown.

Sheriff Steve Mueller said Tuesday afternoon SLED fire investigators had not yet shared any rulings with his office.

Davis said they had worked on the haunted house for more than seven years, filling it with animatronic mannequins and other scary props. “Many of the items were one-of-a-kind and can’t be replaced,” Davis said.

Davis was grateful no one was injured. The business was closed Sunday and no one was present when a neighbor spotted a blaze and called authorities.

“We didn’t know it was The Fear Farm when we got the call,” said CKC Volunteer Fire Department Chief Stick Manning, who arrived to find the structure fully engulfed. “I don’t know how long it had been burning before someone called it in, but it was burning from one end to the other.”

All four east side fire departments automatically responded to the fire. Manning called in tanker trucks from DMW Volunteer Fire Department in Gaffney and Smyrna in York County. Because the fire was reaching into nearby woods and potentially heading for another structure on the property, Manning said the South Carolina Forestry Commission also was called in to bulldoze a fire break.

Using tanker trucks to shuttle water from a hydrant, Manning estimated they used approximately 25,000 gallons of water at the site.

While no official head counts are being offered, the haunted house reportedly attracts thousands of people each year to Blacksburg. It’s estimated 80 percent of the visitors are from out of town.

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