Fire Relief Fund continues to help Georgetown recover

GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) - Approximately $130,000 has been collected by The Front Street Fire Relief Fund at First Citizens Bank, but not everyone is getting the same amount of assistance.

Tuesday, $64,000 in additional aid was distributed, bringing the total collected to $130,000 since the fire tore through the historic district in September.

A Distribution Committee made up of representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the Georgetown Business Association, the Georgetown County Government, the City of Georgetown, and the Executive Director of the United Way oversees the money.

They break it down into three categories: business owners, residents and employees.

"We asked each group 'what can we help you with specifically'?" explained Brian Tucker with the Distribution Committee.

Taking into account the unique needs of each of the groups, the Distribution Committee then worked to determine how much money should be given to each group.

"From that we determined business owners needed more per business," explained Tucker.

Tucker said most of the businesses have insurance, but there is a gap in their claims, which is where the Fire Relief Fund comes in.

"There was a gap between what their insurance covered and what they were going to need. In addition, it was going to be months for some of them to get their settlement," he explained.

The Distribution Committee realized the business owners needed the money immediately to help reopen their establishments.

"Things like fixtures, or paint. Some places had insurance that covered their inventory and that was it. That's good, but it's not enough to get their doors opened," he said.

The Distribution Committee works hands-on to make sure the money is going towards the business's needs. There is also no administrative fee.

Of the $130,000 collected so far, about $7,000 has gone to each business owner.

The employees of those businesses who chose to sign up for the aid, have received about $400. The Distribution Committee hopes this money will help with the employee's rent while looking for another job or waiting for the businesses to re-open.

Each resident has gotten about $3,000.

"We have someone waiting for the next distribution so they can buy a bed," said Tucker, explaining that each week the committee sits down to look at how much money was collected over the previous week, then distributes more money to each group.

The Chamber of Commerce is already planning holiday events to help support the area, hoping to have each business reopened by mid-November.

Celebrate the Holidays in Downtown Georgetown will begin on Saturday, November 2 with a Taste of Georgetown from 12:30 p.m. thru 3:30 p.m.

For more information on events go

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