HOLLY HILL, SC (WCSC) - Federal investigators arrived on the scene of a devastating fire in Holly Hill that destroyed three businesses early Monday morning.
The National Response Team from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrived Wednesday, joining agents from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and Holly Hill first responders.
"They have every type of fire investigator to engineers," Holly Hill Police Chief Josh Detter said. "They look at everything, the canine has been here."
The team will assist the other investigators in trying to determine what sparked the fire that destroyed the Super 10 department store, Goldstein's and Joy's A Touch of Class on Old State Road Monday.
The fire was reported at approximately 12:30 a.m. Monday. When firefighters arrived on the scene, they saw flames shooting out of all three businesses.
Investigators say they are not ruling out arson as a possible cause.
But the fire is impacting more than just those three businesses. Merchants in the immediate area say they a portion of the street being blocked off is keeping customers away and that's costing them income.
"We've confirmed these buildings are unsafe, not knowing whether or when they'll go," Holly Hill Mayor William Johnson said. "If they fall, we're going to keep these blocked off."
Authorities blocked off a portion of the street Monday afternoon over concerns part of the Super 10 building might collapse.
"What bothers us is that we can't get customers up here to park," JD Beauty Supply Company owner Thomas Sloma said. "We've cut back on our sales a lot. Every day we'll make at least $1,000 or better. And now, we have nobody."
Sloma says the front of the building needs to be bulldozed so the street can reopen.
"Right now, we're not making enough money to pay rent," he said.
There is no specific date set for the wall to be bulldozed or for Old State Road to reopen.
"We'll make it as close to normal as we can but they understand what we're going through," Johnson said.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives expects to give an update on the investigation Thursday.