7 buildings destroyed in massive downtown Georgetown fire - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

7 buildings destroyed in massive downtown Georgetown fire

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Al Joseph Al Joseph

GEORGETOWN, SC (WBTW) - Georgetown firefighters were called to a report of multiple buildings on fire in downtown Georgetown Wednesday morning.

The fire was first reported in the 700 block of Front Street at 5:23 a.m. and was finally contained shortly after 9 a.m. No one was seriously injured, but 9 families were left homeless from the fire.

The buildings are on the river side of the street. A total of 8 buildings were involved in the fire, with 7 of those being totally destroyed, Fire Chief Joey Tanner said.

Related story: Red Cross assisting 9 families displaced by Georgetown fire

Nine neighboring fire departments were called in to assist with the situation.

Water supply seems to have caused an issue as water had to be brought in to assist with the flames.

Mayor Jack Scoville said the city's aging water system contributed to the water issues. The city has been working for some time now to renovate the water system.

Related story: Red Cross assisting crews battling blaze in downtown Georgetown

The fire seemed to begin upstairs in Limp'n Janes and then spread to Goudelock & Co, Doodlebugs, Zest, Buzz's Roost, Boardwalk Markette, Harborwalk Books and Colonial Floral Fascinations.

An 8th building, The SC Maritime Museum, was damaged, but not destroyed, suffered some smoke and water damage, but a sprinkler system inside managed to help extinguish the blaze and saved the building, officials said.

The US Coast Guard was requested to come in and assist with fighting the fire from the river.

Chief Tanner said an explosion happened once the fire started and knocked several walls to the ground. Due to the magnitude of the fire, Georgetown Fire officials have asked for assistance from the SLED Arson Team and well as ATF.

Tanner said at the point they do not know what caused the fire.

Folks who want to donate to help those affected by the fire can visit First Citizens Bank, where a special account has been set up, according to Al Joseph of the Georgetown Business Association.

Several surrounding streets are blocked off as firefighters continue to put out hot spots.

Several restaurants, a florist and other businesses are located in this area.

Some families lived in areas above the businesses and those residences were destroyed in the blaze.

The Red Cross and Salvation Army has set up space at the scene to assist with recovery.

The county is receiving reports of discolored water in the Georgetown area, likely as a result of firefighting activities, county officials said.

 "Residents can be assured this is not a water quality issue. The water is safe to drink, but officials say washing clothes with the discolored water is not advisable," officials said. "The discoloration should end this afternoon when firefighting activities on Front Street are through."

Officials said that The Bridge 2 Bridge Run and the Wooden Boat Show, both scheduled for next month in Georgetown, will go ahead as planned.


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said that 8 buildings were destroyed. However, 8 buildings were damaged -- of those, 7 were destroyed. 

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