GEORGETOWN, SC (WBTW) – An owner of one of the businesses destroyed by the Front Street fire in Georgetown nearly three years ago is suing a fellow business owner saying his actions caused the fire. Jeannette Ard, owner of Colonial Florist, which was located at 725 Front Street when the Sept. 25, 2013 fire destroyed eight buildings in the historic Georgetown district, says the owner of Limpin’ Jane’s Restaurant disposed of cleaning materials improperly, igniting the blaze.
A lawsuit filed Sept. 15 by law office of Edward Bell claims Limpin’ Jane’s Restaurant owner Bryan Shepler refinished the restaurant’s teak tables and chairs the day before the fire. He used linseed oil to wipe down the wood, and then threw the used and leftover materials in a plastic and steel trashcan behind the business.
The lawsuit claims linseed oil is susceptible to spontaneous combustion when it isn’t discarded properly. A plastic trash can is not a proper receptacle for linseed oil waste and resulted in the combustion and fire, according to the court documents.
The lawsuit says that early September 25, a local resident was walking along the waterfront near Front Street and spotted flames erupting from a trash can receptacle located on Limpin’ Jane’s rear deck.
A total of 8 buildings were involved in the fire, with 7 of those being totally destroyed.The Fire Chief said an explosion happened once the fire started and knocked several walls to the ground. The US Coast Guard was requested to come in and assist with fighting the fire from the river. No one was seriously hurt, but a dog died in the fire and 9 families were left homeless.
The fire destroyed Ard’s flower business as well as her home, an apartment located above the store. Ard is seeking actual, consequential and punitive damages for the destruction of her business and home.