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Riverdeck owner: 'it will be back!"

Popular lake store damaged by fire

Posted: April 10, 2012 4:15 p.m.
Updated: April 11, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Riverdeck Store & Grill owner Patty Kelly is adamant.

“Our goal is to reopen,” Kelly said Monday. “It will be back!”

Around 5:30 p.m. Friday, Kelly said, smoke started coming from the grill’s hood system in the store, located at Beaver Creek on Lake Wateree. Her partner, Kenny White, heard a popping noise from the roof.

“I went outside and could see smoke and flames on the roof. I got all our customers out. Kenny wanted to call 911 from inside, but I told him one of our customers could use their cell phone,” Kelly said.

The fire collapsed the roof and gutted the building’s interior. The front of the building makes it look intact. Moving to the right side of the store reveals the open A-frame of one end of the roof. From the rear, it looks as though a giant with a burning foot stepped on the store.

Kelly said a number of fire stations responded to the call, including neighboring Beaver Creek, Baron DeKalb and Westville, a station from Lancaster and the Camden Fire Department. Kelly said they suspect the fire started in a fan motor and that the fire service is investigating.

“We were worried because we have propane tanks and gas pumps,” she said.

The store and grill is a total loss, which Kelly said has hit her customers hard.

“There’s a lot of people up here crying. No one was hurt, but it’s a total loss. A lot of people are upset -- it’s like a funeral up here. It’s devastating,” Kelly said.

While dealing with the temporary loss, Kelly is working hard on another project: getting the Creek Side restaurant across the street up and running.

“We’re getting started on the kitchen equipment,” Kelly said. “It’s going to be open in the next four or five weeks.”

Kelly and White have run the Riverdeck for 10 years. They took over from Shelton Catoe who once ran it as the Beaver Creek Store, Kelly said.

About two years ago, Riverdeck became the only place to fill up with gas between Lancaster and Camden.

“We’ve also sold a lot of food,” Kelly said with burgers being at the top of the list plus cigarettes, beer, wine, bait and tackle, T-shirts, ice cream and other grocery items.

Right now, Kelly said, she is waiting on adjusters to help figure out exactly what they need to do to reopen.

“We need to get it cleaned out and get the roof back on,” she said.

Kelly had a special message for their longtime customers.

“We’d like to thank everyone, especially the community, for supporting us and making it a success for the last 10 years,” Kelly said, “You know, Liberty Hill and Lake Wateree, it’s like one big family and not seeing the people every day -- I miss that already.

“We look forward to seeing everyone at the reopening of the Riverdeck.”

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