COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A fire on Easter Sunday has brought hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages to Bee City Zoo and Honey Bee Farm in Cottageville.
The owner of the popular attraction, which features hundreds of exotic animals and a successful honey production site, says he was eating Easter Dinner with his family and walked outside to see smoke billowing out of a yard next door to the zoo.
“Somebody started a fire in the adjacent yard and the wind was kind of high and it got out of hand, I guess,” said Scott Biering.
The fire, contained by the Colleton County Fire Department, burned the back side of Bee City’s main building which houses the production of honey, soaps, lotions, chapsticks, and more, along with the Bee City Cafe.
The damage from the flames was minor, but smoke engulfed the building ruining all of the products inside. Now Bierling says the building has to be gutted and the floors, walls, ceiling, and insulation all have to be replaced.
The smoke also filled a few shipping containers near the building ruining all of the honey shipping and packaging supplies inside such as bottles, boxes, and more.
“All the containers, all the supplies in there, the food items, the building is unusable,” said Biering. “We had pre-ordered a ton of containers cause [of] the supply chain shortage. It’s really hard to get that stuff in now, so I got it way in advance ahead of time. All that’s a loss.”
None of the zoo’s several hundred animals were hurt during the fire. The smoke and flames came within fifteen feet of the Siberian tiger’s enclosure, but it was under control before it came too close.
Until Bee City’s honey production is up and running again, the business will rely on the zoo to bring in the bulk of the income.
The attraction was full of visitors on Monday and will keep its doors open while Biering and his team work to repair the damages.
Visit beecityzoo.com for hours and more.