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Fire destroys former Bethune bar, garage

Posted: November 2, 2010 4:30 p.m.
Updated: November 3, 2010 5:00 a.m.
Martin L Cahn/C-I

Fire trucks from multiple stations responded to a fire next door to SAFA Exxon in Bethune Saturday night. The cause of the blaze is still unknown, although it is said to have started in an old garage office.

Nearly 40 firefighters from more than a half-dozen fire stations converged on Bethune Saturday night  responding to a large fire on the SAFA Exxon property at the corner of Main and King streets. The first calls came in around 8:40 p.m, according to Kershaw County Fire Marshal Gene Faulkenberry.

“It was a hangar-like building that was shut down at least eight years ago,” Faulkenberry said of the metal and concrete-block building with drop-in ceiling and metal roof. “It once had a bar on one end and a garage on the other. We think the fire started in the old garage’s office.”

The fire was out by around 11:15 p.m., but smoke and steam could still be seen rising from the wrecked remains. Most firefighters left 15 to 20 minutes later, after yellow caution tape was placed around the entire building.

Tuesday, Faulkenberry said the cause of the blaze was still undetermined.

Faulkenberry said Saturday the current owner, who reportedly purchased what was formerly May’s Exxon about two years ago, may have had power running to the former bar and garage.

“But I don’t think anything was plugged in,” he said.

Faulkenberry said once the fire started, it got above the drop-in ceiling and ran the length of the building. He said the building was deemed a total loss.

Units from Lee and Chesterfield counties and the city of Camden assisted units responding from the Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah, Cassatt, Shepherd and Bethune fire stations.

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