SLED: Cause of Front Street fire 'undetermined', not arson

GEORGETOWN, SC (WCSC) - An investigation into the cause of a Georgetown fire that damaged eight historic buildings along Front Street has come to a close with officials deeming the cause of the fire to be undetermined.

According to a report released by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the cause of the Front Street fire is undetermined based on all information gathered during the investigation.

The report goes on to state, "At this time no signs of an intentional act have been uncovered, and due to the fact no crime occurred, this case is unfounded."

Several businesses were destroyed and over 100 jobs were lost after a massive fire broke out in the 700 block of Front Street on September 25.

SLED agents took overall photos of the scene from Front Street, Harborwalk and Tower Truck from the Georgetown Fire Department as part of the investigation.

Investigators also viewed surveillance video from a number of nearby businesses, but "did not observe anything unusual around the time prior to the discovery of the fire."

Agents say one person was spotted around the scene "approximately an hour or more prior to the fire," but "if that person had set the fire using an accelerant the fire should have been discovered much earlier."

The report states multiple people were interviewed and asked if they knew of anyone who would have caused the fire, but those who were interviewed said no.

Investigators found that rags soaked with linseed oil were used to wipe down tables at one of the Front Street businesses the day before the fire broke out. Those rags were then put in bag and placed in a trash can.

The report states rags soaked in linseed oil are fire hazards, and that because of the way they were discarded and the location of the trash can at the time of the fire, "those items cannot be eliminated as a cause of the fire."

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