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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Fire Causes Heavy Damage to Building Downtown

A staple building in downtown Newberry has been heavily damaged after an early morning fire on Monday.

It took four fire departments to put the blaze out at the Berger's Building, which is family owned and has been around for decades.

In Newberry residents gathered downtown as they looked and helped sift through what's left of the strucuture.

"We've got a shell of a building standing and that's about it for right now," said Ernie Mattis, a financial advisor for Edward Jones, which was also damaged.

"Bergen's has been here for many, many, many, years," said former State Senator Jim Lander. "I can't tell you how many but the building, much longer than that. This building is one of the key structures to downtown Newberry."

The fire sparked at about 2:00 Monday morning and it tore through the second floor, home to a clothing store called the Gentlemen's Corner.

"When I saw it on the news about an hour later and saw flames coming out of the second floor," explained Mattis. "By the time I got here I was real surprised to see anything standing."

Mattis said that even though the fire didn't spread to neighboring businesses there's still damage.

"All they've told us is there's significant water damage, there's about two feet of water inside and a lot of smoke damage."

Luckily no one was injured which is a bright side for those affected.

"At least it wasn't a home and there was no injury, and no loss of life. That's the most important thing. Everything else can be replaced and that's just what we'll have to do," Mattis said.

For a tight knit community like Newberry its a tough day

"Kind of like a hit in the stomach to see an old friend, and an old friend's business to have gone up in flames like this," said Lander. "Newberry will rally around, and we'll get the job done."

There is still no word on what caused the fire but SLED is helping with the investigation.

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