Someone set the fire that caused three downtown businesses in Holly Hill to burn early Monday morning, according to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
“The cause of this incident is determined to be incendiary. The investigation is ongoing,” the ATF said in a release Saturday.
Investigators believe someone started the fire at 8609 Old State Road. The building was home to Joy’s Touch of Class, an event planning/travel agency business.
Officials have not yet charged anyone in the fire. The investigation is continuing.
The ATF reported on Tuesday that the estimated value of loss is more than $1 million.
According to Saturday’s press release, “ATF's NRT (National Response Team) arrived on-scene at 8609 Old State Road on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, to assist SLED, Holly Hill Police Department, Holly Hill Fire Department, and the Orangeburg County Fire District in the fire investigation.”
“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.
The fire was discovered just before 12:30 a.m. Monday by a Holly Hill volunteer firefighter. The firefighter noticed smoke while en route to an overturned vehicle on Toney Bay Road.
Firefighters who responded to the accident had to leave soon thereafter to help battle the blaze in downtown Holly Hill.
Monday’s blaze was the second time a fire ripped through several businesses there.
Around 1 a.m. Monday, July 9, 1907, a fire destroyed numerous businesses at an estimated loss of $50,000 – which is worth about $1.2 million in today’s dollars.
In March 2001, Mary’s Children Shop burned. It was located across the street from where the recent blaze happened.
That fire was believed to be electrical in origin.
Holly Hill Police Chief Josh Detter said the downtown area of Old State Road between Railroad Avenue and Gardner Boulevard will remain closed at least through Thursday.