BAMBERG COUNTY, SC (WIS) - It’s been a little over a week since a fire ripped through several buildings in downtown Bamberg, and because of that fire, U.S. 301, which goes right through the center of downtown, is still closed off.
Bamberg Police say the owner of the buildings, Steve Leninski, has until the end of Friday, March 15th, to have the roof secured.
Officials have kept the road shut down to be safe because they’re concerned the roof could continue to collapse.
When WIS was out there Friday, about half of the roof was taken off, but crews were still working to get the job done.
Kelsey Odom works for B&B Meats-Fish & Kitchen, which is right next door to the buildings that burnt down.
He says though the town is having to take detours while crews work to tear the roof down, the business hasn’t taken much of a hit.
“I thought maybe you know because the roads closed down, small business no one is going to think about it but surprisingly it didn’t hurt us too bad, we still standing,” Odom said.
Odom says having the road closed down, “does hurt the community.”
“This is 301. This is like part of a major highway here in S.C. You have trucks that’ll have to take a detour maybe down a smaller road, versus when they come straight through 310, that’s hurting them also,” Odom said.
Randy Lee Bloom faces an arson charge for the fire.
According to the arrest warrant, Bloom is accused of going into the buildings and lighting a candle, which caused the fire that spread to other materials and buildings.
Leninski, the owner of the buildings says he used to be friends with the person who is accused of causing the fire.
“Yeah he was a friend he worked for me,” Leninski said. “Too bad it happened, but it happened, what are you going to do?”
Bamberg Police say the Leninski was notified about his responsibility to shore up the roof about a day after the fire.
Officials say Friday is the deadline, and they can’t reopen the road until the roof is secured.
Bamberg County Code Enforcement officials say if the roof of the building isn’t secured by Friday, then the city of Bamberg will have to step in on Monday.