Arson has been ruled the cause of the fire that damaged Dixie Curb Market Wednesday morning.
Chief Sam White of the Union Public Safety Department said officers and agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Arson Team combed through the damage at the business on 503 South Church St. and determined the fire had been set under the building.
“It looked like somebody stuck something under it and lit it,” White said. “It got up under the floor and into the interior wall. A passerby saw smoke and we were able to get it.”
According to a report, officers who were among the first on the scene Wednesday at the 7 a.m. fire reported smelling diesel fuel or kerosene.
Damage to the building was estimated at $75,000. White said the room under which the fire was started was used as a storage area for merchandise. An estimated $25,000 worth of products were destroyed.
White said the City of Union Building and Zoning Department had closed the business because of the damage but the owner, who lives in Boiling Springs, has indicated he plans to have the market repaired and will reopen it.
Another fire that occurred Wednesday morning already had been ruled as arson - the blaze that occurred on 113 Carson St. which was reported around 12:20 a.m.
Officers said this fire is thought to have been started by an arsonist who has plagued the area.
White said the SLED Arson Team will return today to further investigate the Dixie Curb Market fire and also will look back on several blazes in the Carson Street area.
“We don't know if the fire at Dixie Curb and the house fires are related,” White said. “This is different - all of the other fires have been at vacant houses; this is a business.”
Near Carson Street, the vacant South Church Street Efficiency Apartments also were set on fire three times in December and January.
White said suspicious house fires in the area date back to 2000. Most of the blazes were started by someone setting fire to papers, mattresses or rags.