SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A large structure fire that broke out near Sandfly Tuesday morning left local businesses badly damaged.
According to the Chatham Emergency Services, fire crews responded to a large fire in the 8500 block of Ferguson Avenue. Phil Koster, chief of operations, tells News 3 they got the call around 5:30 a.m.
When crews arrived, the fire had engulfed a building that housed multiple businesses. Officials say a church was destroyed and apartment units were badly damaged. The restaurant What’s for Dinner and NonStop Fitness are among the businesses that received severe damage.
“I thought I had overslept and the sun was already up it was that bright,” said Robyn Quattlebau, who lives nearby.
Officials with Chatham Emergency Services say they called in back up almost immediately because of the intensity of the fire.
“So it was already through the roof, one of the apartment areas was totally engulfed then it had collasped and fallen in involving the church,” said Fire Chief James Vickers, “so at that point and time it was in the center area, there were heavy flames and smoke showing.”
Vickers says roughly 60 crews were on scene at the height of the fire and it took three hours to finally get the blaze under control.
“It’s a very complicated fire just because of the construction,” said Vickers.
The fire even damaged a bridge club. The president tells News 3 that the building was closed because of the pandemic, but now they will likely not reopen.
“Speaking to the owner it’s all going to have to be demolished anyways,” said Perry Trilling, the club president. “There’s nothing that can be saved.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the business owners affected by the fire. George Meyers, organizing the fundraiser, says the money raised will be divided equally among the businesses damaged.
“Please help us help these business owners during this difficult time!” Meyers wrote on the page.
Savannah Fire and Chatham Fire & EMS both responded. No one was inside at the time of the fire and there have been no injuries reported. Officials say one person was displaced from their apartment.
Crews continue to investigate a cause of the blaze.