Community in shock after grocery store fire - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Community in shock after grocery store fire

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Williston, SC (WFXG) -

UPDATE: Chief Widener told FOX54 on Monday that the cause of the fire will remain undetermined because the building was so badly damaged. However, investigators do not suspect foul play.

UPDATE: The Williston community is still in shock after a fire ripped through Price Wise, one of their main grocery stores in town.

"It's a sad tragedy that it burned down, it had been there for some years," said Price Wise customer John Perry.  

Not much is left of Price Wise grocery store after a fire ripped through the supermarket early Saturday morning. Williston Fire Chief Milton Widener said the city has not a seen a fire this devastating since 1995.

"To the little community of Williston, it's just devastating to lose a store like this," said Chief Widener.  

The smell of dog food lingers around the area as it still smolders in the back corner of the store where the chief said the fire actually started. He believes the fire was from an electrical issue but is still investigating the cause.

The community depended on the store for everything from fuel automotives, flour, baby diapers and even mulch; a loss that comes with a hefty price tag.

"Just a best guess right now, I'm thinking probably somewhere between $700,000 and $1 million dollars is what it is probably going to run into," said Chief Widener.  

Despite all of the damage and all of the money lost in the fire, they were still actually able to save some funds."

The chief said they were able get to store's safe and ATM machine before the roof caved in, salvaging all of the cash left inside the store. But now looking at all the damage, many wonder what's next for the store.

"We have a local owner who owns the building and I talked with two corporate managers from Piggly Wiggly which is the parent company of Price Wise and they say they want to stay in Williston if the owner is willing to rebuild," said Chief Widener.  

Price Wise and IGA are the only two grocery stores in town and now with one gone, the manager of IGA said they have been very busy. Customers have been coming in for their everyday needs like milk and bread; items that can now only be found at one store.

The chief said nearly 25 employees will be out of work until the store re-builds.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network.  

ORIGINAL: Overnight fire destroys a Williston grocery store.

Chief Milton Widener said they responded to the fire at the Price Wise supermarket around 3:30 Saturday morning. The fire was already coming out of the roof towards the back left side of the building.

It took nearly four hours to put out the fire. Five fire departments in the surrounding area responded including Williston, Barnwell, Blackwell, and Long Branch.

One fire fighter was taken to the hospital with a shoulder injury but he has since been released.

Investigators suspect the fire was caused by electrical issues but it is still an on-going investigation.

 

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