Thursday's boat fire at Hague Marina in the Socastee area of Horry County was the fifth fire there in five months.
On March 11, someone set on fire a remodeled 1969 37-foot striker boat, spray painted it with profanity, and drew a swastika on it. Electrical wiring was connecting the boat's battery with a white plastic jug that contained what smelled like gasoline, according to the police report. Horry County Fire Rescue said some homeless people were recently kicked off of a boat that they had begun sleeping in regularly and this may be some sort of retaliation, the report says.
On December 28, Horry County Fire Rescue responded to three boats docked in the marina that were engulfed in flames. The fires were ruled arson. On December 21, they responded to the same three boats being on fire. That fire was also ruled arson. The victim and a witness said they saw a white, late-model, 4-door with a New York license plate on the front and a South Carolina plate on the back leave the scene. It may have been a Mercury. The victim wasn't able to get tag numbers, according to the police report.
On December 23, a boat owner at Hague Marina found a cigarette wrapped in paper towels on the deck of his boat and contacted Horry County Police Department.
Thursday's boat explosion at Hague Marina is still under investigation.
The boat is finished being processed, according to Sgt. Robert Kegler. Items were collected at the scene and will be sent off for testing.
"I cannot confirm that it was an device that caused the explosion," Sgt. Kegler said in an email. "The cause of the explosion is unknown at this time and continues to be under investigation. HCPD, SLED and ATF are working together in a joint investigation for this incident."