Authorities: Holly Hill fire ruled as incendiary

HOLLY HILL, SC (WCSC) - Investigators have completed the documentation and processing in a structure fire in Orangeburg County that caused more than $1 million in damage.

The fire happened at 8609 Old State Road.The amount of damage and destruction at the scene means determining an origin and cause will have to be done off-site.  Officials have ruled the cause of the fire to be incendiary for now with a further investigation still to be done.

"For the past 7 to 8 days, we've had snow and ice and were going through a lot," said Holly Hill mayor William Johnson. "We thought we were getting to the end of that when we got a call that a downtown store was on fire. Whatever comes to us, I'm comfortable that we'll come together."

The National Response Team for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives composed of veteran special agents who have extensive experience investigating fires.

"Investigating a fire of this size requires a team effort.  We appreciate the dedication of our agents and experts, along with state and local partners.  Working together, we were able to determine the origin and cause of this fire in a timely manner," ATF Charlotte Field Division, Special Agent in Charge Wayne L. Dixie, Jr. said

It's not just the three charred stores that have been directly affected by the fire. Other store owners on Old State Road said they have seen a loss of income due to the lack of customers.

Part of the street is blocked off and will remain blocked off over the next several days due to a safety concern.

"What bothers us is that we can't get customers up here to park," said JD Beauty Supply co-owner Thomas Sloma. "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. Right now, we're not making enough money to pay rent."

Sloma said the front of the building needs to be bulldozed so the street can reopen. There is no specific date set for the wall to be bulldozed.

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