By MINDY LUCAS
An early morning fire at a downtown Beaufort business on Sunday, July 22, caused heavy smoke and fire damage to the front of the building where the business is housed.
Fire crews from the City of Beaufort/ Town of Port Royal Fire Department and the Burton Fire District responded to the fire at Charles Street Realty, on the 900 block of Charles Street, at around 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
First responders arriving on the scene found heavy smoke and fire coming from the front porch and front door of the business. Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze in 30 minutes, according to a news release from the City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department.
Investigators with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division were called to the scene since the building is a commercial property, said Ross Vezin, Battalion Chief for the City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department.
Jodi Joye, owner of both the building and Charles Street Realty, was out of town celebrating her husband’s 60th birthday, when the fire broke out. A friend called to let her know her building was on fire, she said.
“I’m just devastated,” Joye said. “The whole building is ruined. We don’t know what happened.”
Joye said she had just had the building painted, had replaced rotted wood and roof boots and completed various other “general maintenance” work.
Joye said the company will relocate to another building close to the property on Washington Street. She and her employees can also work from home, she said.
“It will all work out,” she said. “I’ll be open tomorrow.”
The cost of damages has yet to be determined. The fire remains under investigation.