National Guard helps remove Front Street Fire debris

The City of Georgetown has hired the Army National Guard to help remove some of the debris that fell into the water when several buildings were burned in the Front Street Fire back in September.

"This is a training opportunity for us. If we had a real hurricane or something like that, it would be the same deal," said Jackie Gantt, Battalion Commander.

However, the National Guard is only removing the debris in the water, not on the land. That's because the Department of Health and Environmental Control found one sample of asbestos, according to Georgetown Mayor Jack Scoville.

DHEC has to run more tests before the debris on the land can be removed.

"In fact, I just authorized for the city to pay for the second set of asbestos testing which is going to cost $3,000 to $5,000," said Scoville.

Once given the green light by DHEC, property owners will be responsible for removing the debris.

Then, the discussion will turn to rebuilding.

"The issue is going to be the economics of rebuilding. How much is it going to cost to rebuild and what kind of use can they get out of the property that justifies the investment," said Scoville.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.