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One Florence fireman injured; others continue battling downtown fire

Firefighters almost have the downtown fire under control.

Posted: Jun 7, 2018 3:38 PM
Updated: Jun 7, 2018 5:01 PM

A law firm in downtown Florence is almost destroyed by a fire and many roads near the scene are still shutdown.

Portions of Court Street in front of the Lauderdale County Courthouse along with portions of South Seminary Street and East College streets are still shut down.

Florence fire officials said Potts and Young law firm caught fire around 3 a.m. One fireman was injured when he slipped and strained his back. He was taken to Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital but expected to be okay.

The roof of the law office has caved in. Florence fire officials believe the fire started in the attic. Crews are now working to get bulldozers in to knock out walls and get the rest of the fire out. As of 3:30 you could still see smoke coming from the building.

"That building dates back to 1895," said Robert Potts, whose brother Frank Potts owns the building now.

Florence fire officials said since the building is older the original roof was flat and over the years the owners built a metal roof on top of the old one, which trapped the fire.

"It's created quite a bit of voids and blockages. That has created a problem trying to put the fire out," said Florence Deputy Fire Chief, Tim Anerton.

Potts said the building has been in his family for generations. His father started his law practice in it decades ago.

"A lot of my fathers legal memorabilia, photographs, and paintings were in the building. It's a shock to our family," said Potts.

Potts said all of the firms current cases were in the digital cloud so no clients lost any files. Fire crews stopped the fire from spreading to other buildings.

Dick Jordan, who works at M.J. Carter Insurance, which is right next to the law firm, said Florence Firefighters have done an amazing job.

"I never have seen anybody do an outstanding job as they've done on this fire. It's been an intense fire and they've done a superb job keeping it contained," said Jordan.

Florence Fire officials said they don't know how the fire started. As soon as it's safe to bring in the fire inspector he will start collecting evidence and piecing together how the fire started.

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