Front Street fire clean up about to kick into high gear

  • Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Paige Sawyer


Debris removal should begin today on the river side of the 700 block of Front Street six months after a fire destroyed eight historic structures that was sometimes referred to as “Georgetown’s Rainbow Row.”

The question on the minds of many is why has it taken so long to remove what’s left of the wooden trusses, bricks and steel beams that were restaurants, retail shops, apartments and residences.

Debris that once was Limpin’ Jane’s Restaurant was immediately removed after the fire so SLED and the state fire marshal could begin their investigation on the origin and reason of the fire.

Asbestos was found in the majority of the properties owned by Rodney Long, Dwayne Christen and Steve Timmons. After many rounds of testing and discussion, they finally received clearance from DHEC to remove the debris and hired an asbestos contractor from Mount Pleasant to begin work next week.

Additional fees have to be paid for debris associated with asbestos along with tipping fees for the county landfill.

“The county and city both have been great to work with and deserve much praise for their help” Long said. “I hate it’s taken this long but there were so many issues involved.”

After asbestos was not found to contaminate some other properties, owners Goudy Miller, John Rogers and Jeanette Ard begin probing through their debris searching for personal items that may have survived. They were delighted to find some coins, jewelry and silverware that wasn’t destroyed.

Miller, Rogers and Ard have also been clearing and cleaning their property brick by brick for several weeks and are happy that the other property will be cleaned up next week.

Former state Rep. Vida Miller was contracted with the city to coordinate clean up efforts between the property owners, city, county and state regulatory agencies. “They have all been delightful to work with and it’s been a tough go for the property owners,” said Miller. “Not only did they lose their businesses, but also personal effects which cannot be replaced.”

Miller praised everyone she worked with and was overwhelmed with the compassion shown by all involved.

Long and his group are anxious to get their property cleaned and move forward with rebuilding. “Hopefully by next Friday, our property will be rid of what’s left from the fire. Unfortunately, the cost of rebuilding and working with FEMA guidelines is going to be tough but we believe in Georgetown and want to be a part of this wonderful city.”

See the fire photo gallery at SouthStrandNews.com

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