SLED Investigation reveals possible cause of Georgetown fire - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

SLED Investigation reveals possible cause of Georgetown fire

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The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has released a narrative report of their investigation into the fire that destroyed eight buildings on Front Street in Georgetown.

The report states, "the exact cause of the fire is undetermined. At this time no signs of an intentional act have been uncovered and due to the fact no crime occurred this case is unfounded."

Investigators watched surveillance video from around the scene. There was one person seen near the area prior to fire.

The report states, "based on surveillance videos, no one was observed on the Harbor Walk in the hours prior to the fire and the individual observed on the street video was there approximately an hour or more prior to the fire. If that person had set the fire using an accelerant the fire should have been discovered much earlier."

The report discusses SLED interviews with business owners and those who live in the area. A group of people were refinishing tables using linseed oil and cloth or "rags" near the believed origin of the fire. The report shows that those rags were thrown into a trash can which was later found melted.

The report states, "based on the information... about the amount of linseed oil and rags used to refinish the tables and the location of the trash cans, those items cannot be eliminated as a cause of the fire."

"Rags soaked with linseed oil stored in a pile are considered a fire hazard because they provide a large surface area for oxidation of the oil, and the oil oxidizes quickly," it continued.

The report explains that because the rags were placed in a bag and then into the garbage, it would "make conditions favorable to spontaneous combustion to occur and started a slow progressing fire."

Read the SLED report narrative: SLED Investigation Report

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