Chief: Florence restaurant and club total loss in fire

SOURCE: WMBF News Reporter Ken Baker
SOURCE: WMBF News Reporter Ken Baker
Ashton's Social Club. SOURCE: WMBF News Reporter Ken Baker
Ashton's Social Club. SOURCE: WMBF News Reporter Ken Baker

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Fire crews are working Tuesday morning to extinguish a fire at Hornes Country Buffet and Ashton's Social Club on S. Irby Street. The fire chief says the businesses are both a total loss, and there are no injuries reported.

The restaurant has been closed for some time. Reporter Ken Baker says the fire started at Hornes and spread to Ashton's Social Club next door. Officials say the fire is contained, but not yet out. 

South Irby Street is shut down from Cherokee Road down to Jumping Jays. Motorists are advised to stick to traveling on back roads, and use Church Street to avoid the scene at Irby Street and Cherokee Road.

Firefighters are having a hard time reaching the fire because of the way the building is laid out. They expect to be on scene for hours, and right now their main objective is to stop the fire from spreading to the hotel behind the building.

City of Florence Fire Chief, Randy Osterman, tells us the call came in at 2:09 a.m. When they arrived to the scene, heavy smoke was coming from the backside of Hornes.

Howe Springs Fire Department has been called in to assist. Other fire departments within Florence County have been called in to cover the City of Florence while they work this active scene.

South Carolina Highway Patrol, EMS and City of Florence Fire are all on scene.

Joy Walker, owner of Ashton's Upscale Social Club said they were celebrating their two-year anniversary this month. "Words can't describe what we're feeling right now. This is devastating and sad, but we've got to move forward. This is just a stepping stone for us just to try to get something big and better."

Copyright 2013 WMBF News. All rights reserved.