Electrical fire destroys downtown law firm in Florence

A portion of East College Street near the law firm is still closed.

Posted: Jun 8, 2018 4:11 PM
Updated: Jun 8, 2018 5:15 PM

Florence fire officials are still on the scene of a fire in downtown Florence and multiple businesses are still without power.

Potts and Young Law firm on East College Street caught fire at about 3 A.M. Thursday morning. Firefighters battled the fire for over 12 hours and were still putting out hot spots Friday morning.

A portion of East College Street is still shutdown and fire officials said they will be on the scene for at least the next few hours. They have brought in bulldozers to knock down the walls of the law firm to make sure hot spots are out.

Fire officials said the fire started from a wall outlet so the cause of the fire was electrical. 

"We don't have any power. We had to cut all the power, but hopefully with the work of everyone we will be back on Monday," said Dick Jordan who works at M.J. Carter Insurance.

Jordan's insurance building is right next to the charred remains of the law firm. Firefighters were able to stop the blaze from spreading into other buildings.

"They did a great job on keeping the fire contained to the Potts building. We did have a little smoke naturally but it's not anything we can't fix," said Jordan.

The utility department had to cut power to Jordan's business along with three others because of the fire. Those businesses won't have power until Monday. Fire officials believe the fire started In the attic area. We're told the fire actually started to melt firefighters gear.

"The building has a lot of obstacles inside with the way it's constructed and added onto during the years," said Florence's Deputy Fire Chief Tim Anerton. "By the time they [firemen]were getting to where the fire was their personal protective gear was starting to break down showing signs of melting and damage."

Anerton said the building was build in the 1890's and had layers of different roofs over the original one, then a metal roof on top which trapped the fire. Anerton said the building recently had a routine inspection and passed.

"There is a transition in what you call modern and legacy building construction. This building was up to code," said Anerton.

Officials said they do not believe the fire was intentionally set. Florence fire officials said they used millions of gallons of water on the fire.

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