Heartbreaking Downtown Charleston Fire this morning- 4/2/13 April 2, 2013

Early this morning, fire caused extensive damage to East Bay Street building. Post & Courier story:

“Fire officials are investigating the cause of a massive blaze that tore through a commercial building in the heart of downtown Charleston’s tourist district early today, wiping out three bars and causing the roof to collapse.

No one was injured, but fire crews remain on the scene and East Bay Street between South Market and Cumberland streets is closed to traffic.


“It was a terrible fire,” he said. “They really did an amazing job.”

Onlookers gathered later in the morning along the steps of the U.S. Customs House, which sits across the street from the building, to watch as crews doused hot spots and surveyed the damage. Among those on hand was Clint Gaskins, owner of Squeeze, a bar that was damaged in the blaze. He said the fire couldn’t have happened at a worse time, right before the Cooper River Bridge Run and the start of his club’s busiest time of year.

“I don’t know what to think right now,” he said. “You lose your bar, your job — everything —  all in one shot.”

Crews from the Charleston, North Charleston, James Island and St. Andrews fire departments raced to 213 East Bay St. after the blaze was reported at 1 a.m., Charleston Fire Marshal Mike Julazadeh said.

Massive clouds of smoke poured from the salmon-colored, two-story building and flames could see be seen shooting into the darkened sky. The building is home to three bars: Light, Squeeze and The Brick.

Fire crews entered the building and reached the second floor, but they turned back, evacuated the building and set up a defensive operation outside as the blaze grew, Julazadeh said.

The fire breached the roof of the building and the roof collapsed onto the second floor, Julazadeh said.

But firefighters were able to prevent the blaze from spreading to the adjacent buildings that were in direct contact with the structure, Julazadeh said.

The structural stability of 213 East Bay St. will need to be reviewed before vehicle or foot traffic is allowed through the area, Julazadeh said.

Fire officials have not determined cause of the blaze. The building is valued at $2.2 million, according to Charleston County property records.

Patrons turned to social media to offer condolence and support to the damaged businesses.

“I feel like I woke up and had a bad dream… Heart hurts today for my @SQUEEZE_BAR family,” one woman wrote on Twitter.

“Heartbroken to hear the news of @TheBrickCHS last night,” another patron tweeted. “

 

357 North Shelmore Blvd, STE 1C, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina 29464 O (843) 216-8224 F (843) 216-8224

 

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