CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Over the weekend, riots broke out in downtown Charleston after a day of peaceful protests. One of the restaurants damaged late Saturday night was Fuel Charleston, where owner, Josh Broome, said people broke in and set fire to the building.
“I certainly thought given that we were off the beaten path, I naively thought we would be spared,” he said.
Broome watched the news at home as people were destroying businesses on King Street. Around 11:30 p.m. he got an alert that his security alarm was going off and shortly after his fire alarm went off.
“They broke in [the back] door...they went behind the bar, took the cash drawers,” Broome added. “I think the drawers were worth more than the cash inside of them, fortunately, and then they went in the kitchen.”
That’s where Broome believes the vandals started the fire.
The restaurant was stocked with food, ready to prepare big orders for the week, and Broome decided to donate it to the homeless shelter, One80 Place.
“They are just a great organization and do a great job. And I love their mission and the things they do in Charleston to help the homeless community so it was just an easy ask,” Broome said.
The Charleston Fire Department said they are still investigating the incident and will be back at the restaurant this week to finish the report.
Meanwhile, Broome is making the most out of a tough situation on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We just worked so tirelessly and diligently the past three to four weeks in re-hiring a lot of our staff that we had to lay off during the pandemic,” he added. “And they’ve been here every day working so hard, painting and cleaning up. And we finally got to a point we could re-open and this was a kick to the gut."
He wanted to do more for his staff who are now out of work again, so the restaurant started a GoFundMe page to help with payroll over the next few weeks as they finish repairs. You can donate by clicking: here.