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Owner of Marion Co. business destroyed by fire wants SLED to investigate

WPDE Myrtle Beach/Florence logo WPDE Myrtle Beach/Florence 5/11/2022 Tonya Brown
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Barbara Harness said she would like for the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to investigate a fire Monday afternoon that destroyed her business, Barbara's Place, at Everette and Lumber Streets in the Nichols community of Marion County.

Harness said she still has questions about what sparked the fire.

“I do want to know what started the fire. It might’ve been an accident somewhere. It might have been deliberately. I don’t know for sure if you’ve all I know is, from what I’ve been told. It wasn’t anything to do with my building that started the fire. And I just want to know what happened. That worries me what happened,“ said Harness.

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Nichols Fire Chief Jimmy Collins said they haven't determined what caused the fire and it could be a number of things that sparked it.

Collins said he doesn't have a problem with Harness asking SLED to investigate.

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Many people in the community said they remember a lot of happy times at the business and it's a place where you could go and listen to some good music.

“We just had a good time together. We danced. We laughed. We ate. We had fun. It’s more like family than it is a business. That’s what hurts the most. I’ve had a lot of calls. And a lot of support from family and friends. And everybody wanting to help. So, you know, but it’s not about all of it. It’s about the fact is I know I am loved. And I know the kids are loved. But it is just the sentimental things that I just can’t bring back," said Harness.

She said they used her business to house toys she would buy for Christmas for needy families.

Harness and her family giveaway toys every year in memory of her husband who passed away in 2010.

"There was probably $700 or $800 worth of stuff for the kids already in there. Just in presents. You know, that we had already raised. Because we do it all year. So, there are things that we had brought wholesale. Things that we had bought it was on clearance. Things that we had already accumulated for the children. Yes, it is hurtful. It puts a big delay in us getting it together," said Harness.

She added many people in the community have vowed to help her rebuild and continue her mission to help needy families at Christmas.

Harness said they're planning to start an online account to help raise money and ask for donations from the community.

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