Fire rips through downtown Charleston building - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Investigation into downtown fire suspended due to structural safety of the building

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According to Mike Julazadeh, Charleston Fire Department Fire Marshal, both lanes of East Bay were opened to traffic at 4:20 p.m.  The Charleston Fire Department will remain at the scene to monitor 'hot spots' in the fire debris.

The fire investigation has been suspended due to the safety and structural damage to the building.  The sidewalk and parking area in front of the business will remain closed to maintain a safe area.

Charleston fire investigators are continue to work to determine what caused the fire that destroyed several bars on East Bay Street early Tuesday morning.

Residents near East Bay Street fire awakened by firefighters

The building that is home to Speak Easy at Light and The Brick caught fire around 1 a.m., and first arriving units were met with smoke and flames pouring from the building at 213 East Bay St. 

"Arriving personnel encountered heavy smoke.  Crews entered the building and accessed the second floor.  The fire progressed and forced fire personnel to evacuate the building and move to a defensive (exterior) operation", said Battalion Chief Mike Julazadeh, Charleston Fire Marshal.

Neighboring buildings were evacuated because the buildings are so close together. There is some smoke, and water damage to the adjacent structures.

East Bay Street remains closed because of the uncertainty of the stability of the building.

There were no injuries reported.

The Charleston Fire Dept. released the following statement Tuesday morning:

Members of the Charleston, North Charleston, James Island, and Saint Andrews Fire Department responded to a reported commercial structure fire at approximately 1:00 AM this morning.  Members from Charleston County EMS and Charleston Police Department assisted with the response.  The fire occurred at 213 East Bay Street and includes the following businesses establishments:  Light, Squeeze, and The Brick. 

Arriving personnel encountered heavy smoke.  Crews entered the building and accessed the second floor.  The fire progressed and forced fire personnel to evacuate the building and move to a defensive (exterior) operation.  Fire did breach the roof of the building and the roof has collapsed onto the second floor.  Department members were able to prevent fire spread to the adjacent buildings that were in direct contact with the structure.  At this time we have no reports of injuries.

East Bay Street, between S. Market St and Cumberland St, is closed at this time due to the apparatus and hose lines in the roadway.  Additionally, the structural stability of 213 East Bay Street will need to be reviewed before vehicle or foot traffic is allowed through the area.  The street will likely remain closed for several hours and motorist should avoid the area during their morning commute.

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