Black chamber building fire in S. Carolina ruled an accident

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) " Authorities have ruled out arson in a fire that destroyed the almost-completed new headquarters of the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce.

Local Fire Chief Reece Bertholf said Wednesday investigators determined the fire was accidental.

According to a joint announcement from city, state and federal agencies, preliminary findings are that the fire started between the first and second floors in a sealed-off space that allowed no access.

Bertholf told reporters Wednesday the investigation continues, but the findings shouldn't change.

Construction of the three-story structure was nearly complete when it burned early Saturday, causing at least $2 million in damages. There were no reported injuries.

A grand opening was planned for Jan. 12.

Federal agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms took over the investigation Sunday.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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