Black chamber building fire in S. Carolina ruled an accident

wcbd-beaufort-fire

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) – Authorities have ruled out arson in a fire that destroyed the almost-completed new headquarters of the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce.

Local Fire Chief Reece Bertholf said Wednesday investigators determined the fire was accidental.

According to a joint announcement from city, state and federal agencies, preliminary findings are that the fire started between the first and second floors in a sealed-off space that allowed no access.

The release says the investigation continues.

A news conference is planned for later Wednesday.

Construction of the three-story structure was nearly complete when it burned early Saturday, causing at least $2 million in damages. There were no reported injuries.

A grand opening was planned for Jan. 12.

Federal agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms took over the investigation Sunday.

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