Colleton County authorities are investigating whether two house fires early Friday were intentionally set.

The fires occurred within hours of each other, and the two homes are about a block away from each other.

The first fire began at 2:54 a.m. in an empty house on Poplar Street, according to the fire department, which has descriptions and photos of the fires on its webpage. Crews arrived to see flames shooting 40 feet in the air. The single-story, wood frame house was destroyed, but firefighters were able to save a detached garage.

Another fire was reported at 6:18 a.m. at an abandoned house on nearby Edgewood Street. The single-story block house was heavily damaged.

Because of the short distance between the two houses and since both fires involved uninhabited structures, investigators suspect arson.

Deputies questioned a driver in the Hampton Street area after the Poplar Street fire but concluded the driver was not a suspect, according to an incident report.

The State Law Enforcement Division is assisting the Sheriff's Office in the investigation.

Anyone with information about the fires is encouraged to contact the Sheriff's Office at 843-549-2211 or the Arson Hotline at 800-922-7766.