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September 29, 2013

Two building facades damaged in Front Street fire in Georgetown collapse Sunday morning

The facades of two of the buildings damaged Wednesday in a fire on Front Street in Georgetown collapsed early Sunday morning, city officials said.

The facades of two of the buildings damaged Wednesday in a fire on Front Street in Georgetown collapsed early Sunday morning, city officials said.

The facades of Zest restaurant and Doodlebugs children’s store collapsed overnight. They were two of seven buildings destroyed by a fire that broke out at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday on the harbor side of the 700 block of Front Street in the city’s historic district.

“They collapsed mostly onto them selves and a little bit into the street,” Georgetown city administrator Chris Carter said. “I think now we realize there are a few more that might come down. … They’re certainly unstable.”

Carter said some hoped to be able to preserve as much of the buildings as possible, but if they are deemed unsafe they will need to come down.

“It may be that we have to go in and finish the job,” he said. “There’s some interest in trying to salvage some of the bricks for preservation purposes.”

The fire claimed seven businesses and damaged another and put about 130 people out of work. Some of the businesses had apartments above them.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Carter said.

Arson investigators with the State Law Enforcement Division and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms sorted through the debris Thursday collecting evidence from the scene and Carter said investigators were still working on determining the cause.

Those who wish to help people impacted by the fire can donate to the Front Street Fire Relief Fund at any First Citizens Bank in South Carolina or the Front Street Fire Fund at First Federal/SCBT.

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