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Fire damages deer processor

by | October 17, 2019 5:00 pm

Last Updated: October 16, 2019 at 12:20 pm

An Oct. 10 fire caused moderate damage to Risher’s Deer Processing Facility at 120 Yearling Lane, south of Walterboro.
At 2:40 p.m., 9-1-1 received two reports of the fire — one from the occupants of the business and another from a neighbor, reporting smoke inside the building and coming from the roof. The occupants were able to safety exit the building.
Fire-Rescue units arrived minutes later to find heavy smoke conditions at the one-story commercial structure. The building, which was designed for processing deer, had several additions over the years. Several walk-in freezers were arranged around the building, but were covered by a single roof, and the coolers were covered on the exterior by wooden siding to give a uniform appearance.
Firefighters initially had trouble locating the fire, which appeared to have started above one of the interior coolers in the original portion of the structure. The fire burned under the original attic, which had been covered by an entirely new roof at some point.
Shortly after arrival, flames broke through the original roof and burned under the new roof before breaking through the ridge vents. Crews were able to cut access points in the roof and remove the ridge vents to knock down the fire.
They were able to gain access to the new attic through a small 18×18-inch access door on the south side of the building which provided the ability to walk on the tops of the coolers and extinguish the remaining fire in the attic.
A large amount of processed deer was lost. The main processing facility, several walk-in freezers and an attached apartment were saved.
The entire facility received smoke damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Fire-Rescue units and fire investigators remained on the scene for 12 hours.

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