The fire started in an enclosed space between the first and second floors in an area sealed off after initial framing and utilities were in place, Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Chief
In response to any remaining public concern about the cause, Bertholf said some of the country's top investigators worked the scene and there was no way anything else could have gotten into the space where the fire began.
Nothing in surveillance footage of the fire changed investigators' determination, he added.
"This fire was accidental," he said.
The newly constructed building on
One of the most vulnerable times for a building is when it's under construction, Bertholf said. He noted the sprinkler and alarm systems were in place but not operational.
Some aspects of the investigation are ongoing. A national team of federal fire investigators, along with state and local fire officials, worked the scene in downtown
The building has been turned back over to the
The fire was reported about
The community building was to have been finished in December and would have included a commercial kitchen, art gallery and office space for a business incubator.
"We're not going to let this stop us," chamber president and CEO
Attempts to reach Holman on Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful.
Holman had called for patience Tuesday as investigators completed their initial investigation. The chamber had been the target of vandalism in 2015, when someone painted the word "racist" on a sign at the future site of the building.
During a news conference on
"This was a wonderfully positive opportunity to say, 'Hey, here's what we do guys, and there's a lot of us," said chamber spokeswoman
Local investigators decided early to call in the federal
Federal, state and local agencies conferred on the final determination of the cause and origin of the fire, Bertholf said.
He encouraged the community to support the chamber as it moves forward.
"What they can do is rally behind them," Bertholf said. "They've suffered a tragic loss of their building, and they need help to move forward and rebuild, which I am confident they will do."
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