Artist loses everything in Georgetown fire, except one piece of - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Artist loses everything in Georgetown fire, except one piece of art with special meaning

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GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) - Thursday was the first chance for people who lived and worked in the burned buildings to return and salvage what they could. For one man that was one piece of artwork left in his studio that will always have a special meaning.

That artist is John Witzel, who was supposed to have one of the best days of his career today.

"I had a lady coming to buy $20,000 worth of art today," said Witzel.  "That's ten times the most I've ever sold."

Now Witzel is left with one fish painting that somehow made it through the fire virtually untouched.

Witzel lost his studio, home, and dog in the fire.  The flames consumed his home in just a matter of minutes as Witzel tried to get out and save his neighbor and his dog, Jake, before the smoke grew to thick.

"We made it to the stairs and managed to get down the stairs but Jake didn't make it out," said Witzel. "So I went back upstairs to get Jake and couldn't make it halfway up the stairs."

Will Brawley's mother is the neighbor Witzel helped get out of the building.

"If it weren't for John here I don't know if our mom would still be with us," added Brawley. "I cried and I hugged him and I thanked him for saving my mom's life."

Brawley then agreed to buy the only piece of Witzel's art that survived the fire.

"When he came out and said it's the only thing I had left, so I sat there and thought how can I not buy this. It's a special thing," said Brawley.

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