Georgetown still rising from the ashes, 6 months after massive fire

Georgetown businesses keep recovering months after devastating fire

GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - With the help of family and friends, Ginger Gray was able to reopen her store Doodlebugs six weeks after it was destroyed in the fire that devastated Front Street.  Her new space is just a couple of blocks away from the pile of rubble that used to be her business.

"That was probably one of the hardest things," she says.  "I've never seen a fire, but to look at that and see something that you put a lot of love and effort into for the last 11-and-a-half years -- that was hard to see."

Six months after the massive fire, parts of Georgetown's historic Front Street still shows signs of devastation.

Debris fills a portion of the 700 block of Front Street. It's all that remains of Janette Ard's flower shop, Colonial Floral Fascinations, and her home above the shop.

"I still feel like it's a surreal situation. You keep hoping it's a nightmare you're going to wake up from," said Ard. "So, you just try to move forward one day at a time and you just have hope."

It's stories like Ard's that makes the slow recovery process frustrating for the community. But, Mayor Jack Scoville said the people of Georgetown are resilient.

"It's been a slow process, the storms and the winter holidays," said Mayor Scoville. "There were some snags with DHEC that had to be addressed. Springtime and hopefully by the summer season the sight will be cleaned up."

Mayor Scoville said 9 businesses were severely damaged in the fire, 130 jobs lost and there was several million dollars worth of damage.

"We're going to bring in some planners. We'll work with the property owners, the community, the county, all the people who have a stake in the redevelopment of the property to come up with some concepts that hopefully we can then move forward with getting financing for the property owners and rebuild."

Wednesday will mark the beginning of debris cleanup. It's an effort that should be finished by the end of next week. A lot of businesses are facing asbestos issues, as well. Mayor Scoville said that cleanup process will continue throughout the week, as well.

While it's been a long road to recovery, the Georgetown community is hopeful relief is just around the corner.

Copyright 2014 WCSC. All rights reserved