After fire, Georgetown buildings can be rebuilt in flood plain

Life on Front Street in Georgetown may never be the same, after last week's devastating fire that destroyed seven historic buildings.

All the buildings that burned down are in a flood plain, within restrictions that didn't exist when they were built in the 1800s.

City officials say the buildings can be rebuilt, but they'll have to include certain features to "dry-proof" them.

"They would simply come in then, construct floors and walls out of concrete, have it where in the event of a flood or an emergency, it could be sealed off to prevent any water from coming in and damaging everything," said city planning administrator Rick Martin.

Martin says the buildings would not have to be on stilts, but can be constructed at the same elevation as surrounding buildings. Their facades could be made to match the historic aesthetics of the town.

The rebuilding process will take months or even years and in the meantime, Georgetown residents have been collecting donations to take care of the fire victims' immediate needs.

The committee that will decide how to distribute the funds will meet Tuesday morning to work out a plan based on each fire victim's individual needs.

"Some of these employees are single moms with multiple kids, and then you have other employees that are living with parents and have already found a job. So those are the things we're trying to determine," said Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce president Brian Tucker.

Tucker says the nine person committee will be made up of business leaders, city and county officials and a Red Cross representative.

Now that some of the buildings are little more than piles of rubble, local children have found a way to express their feelings about the fire.. by posting pictures and signs on the Front Street fence line.

Some are heartbreaking. "Mom's store burned", one sign says.

Others express thanks to firefighters and police.

And perhaps all of them would agree with the sentiment expressed in one sign: "I love Georgetown".