Workers displaced by Georgetown fire get help finding jobs

The road to recovery continues in Georgetown, one week after the disastrous fire that destroyed seven historic buildings on Front Street.

Since the fire that left them jobless, many of the 130 displaced workers have been scraping by on credit cards, donations from the community and any other help they can get.

"I live with my parents, so my parents are trying to help me, but they can't do so much," said John Cochran of Georgetown.

Cochran and other displaced workers, most of them from the service industry, came to the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments office Wednesday to hear what SC Works, the state employment department, can do to help them find new jobs.

The meetings with displaced workers included information on resume building and interviewing skills.

Josh Heideman, a sous chef at one of the restaurants that burned down, says he and the others learned about things like unemployment benefits and job search tips.

Heideman says he's feeling much better about his future now, than he did after seeing his place of employment burn down last week.

"I seemed just lost, no one really had any information, it was a lot of chaos, confused people. So yeah, I feel a lot better going by here," said Heideman.

While many of the workers displaced by the fire are still struggling, SC Works officials say at least a few of them have already found jobs with other employers in the Georgetown area.

"I do know that there are some of the other restaurants in the area that are doing some hiring and specifically want to see these workers who have been displaced due to the fire," said Cindy Rogers, SC Works area director.

Rogers says the state employment department will have more group workshops and one-on-one meetings with displaced employees in coming days.

She says despite what they've been through, the displaced workers have the right attitude and seem ready to get back to work.

Heideman is confident he will find something soon.

"Hopefully next week. Hopefully. That's what I'm shooting for."