Price Wise Fire: More on the Investigation
Here is a quick summary of the Price Wise fire that happened yesterday in town.
- A fire fighter (department of employment not disclosed) was treated and released from the soon-to-be closed Barnwell County Hospital after he was slightly injured while battling the fire.
- Firefighters from Williston, Barnwell, Blackville, Windsor, Long Branch, Hilda, Elko and Snelling all took part in battling the blaze at 12889 MAIN ST.
- The fire is believed to have been caused by an electrical issue, which, if confirmed, would make it an accident.
- Price Wise was Williston’s original grocery store, then called Red & White and later called Piggly Wiggly before it took on the current name. It was built while Williston still had railway tracks.
- IGA, located on 12984 MAIN ST, is now Williston’s only grocery store.
- The Dale Earnhardt Junior potato chips were sold at Price Wise. Now, residents of the town must go to either Barnwell, Blackville, Neeses or Aiken to get those chips.
- Because it had a deli, Price Wise was subject to a bimonthly inspection by the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). In addition to food inspections, DHEC also conducts building code inspections on businesses that serve cooked food. Price Wise was inspected less than ten days before the fire.
- Unfortunately, Price Wise was the only grocer that had a deli in Williston. Both it and IGA had a bakery, although the bakery wasn’t identified in either store.
- Reid’s on DUNBARTON BLVD in Barnwell is now the nearest grocery store with a deli.
- There are no grocery stores with delis in Blackville.
- Price Wise was still under Piggly Wiggly’s ownership at the time of the fire.
- The nearest Piggly Wiggly-owned store is now in Denmark on HERITAGE HY.
- The heat from the fire may have damaged the nearby Street Name and Destination signs to the point that replacement of the Destination sign by the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) and complete removal of the Street Name sign by Barnwell County’s Public Works will likely be needed.
- The new Destination sign in front of the now-destroyed store may have to be replaced sooner than usual.
- Conspiracy theorists are already claiming that IGA employees or loyalists may have caused the fire, which I believe is absolutely false.
- This is the second major fire in Downtown Williston in less than 18 years. On July 14, 1995; a major fire destroyed the First Citizens Bank just two blocks to the west.