Georgetown looks back on Front Street Fire 3 Years Later

GEORGETOWN, SC (WBTW) – Three years ago a devastating fire tore through the 700 block of Front front street in historic Georgetown. It destroyed 8 buildings and left over 130 people jobless overnight.

Kenneth Davis was one of those people.

He worked at Buzz’s Roost just before the building caught fire. Now,  Davis is employed at the restaurant’s new location on the 900 block of Front Street. Many other businesses also relocated to the area. Davis said the whole experience was hard on him.

“Not having a job for a couple months, just being out of work and not seeing the people I work with and things of that nature.”

But things could have been worse. Wildfish Grill, another Georgetown business, gave him and his colleagues work in their time of need.

Davis said, “they kind of opened their doors for us to come down and work for the time being until they built the new location.”

The fire completely destroyed 7 of the 8 buildings on the property and attracted statewide attention.

Gov. Nikki Haley declared a state of emergency and the SC Dept. of Commerce offered up to 1 million dollars in grant funds. But, that grant never went forward. Mayor Jack Scoville said that’s because not all of the building’s owners wanted to follow to the grant conditions.

Those conditions stated that “any building on the site has to either be elevated or flood proof. And the purpose of the grant was to provide funds to the property owners to help them defray the cost of flood proofing the site,” Scoville informed.

The new buildings would also have to be up to code, which could get expensive. The old structures didn’t have to comply with all current regulations because of their age

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