Arson Ruled Out in Black Chamber of Commerce 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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