Authorities seek 6 seen near fire at historic SC structure

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — UPDATE: Authorities are looking for six people captured on surveillance video around the time an early morning fire devastated an iconic building in South Carolina’s capital city.

The Columbia Police Department released the images on Saturday of the people and a red pickup truck captured near a fire at the Dr. James Woods Babcock Building, part of a shuttered former mental health asylum that was slated to be converted into a luxury housing development.

Officials say more than 50 firefighters and 14 firetrucks worked to extinguish the three-alarm fire, which burned for more than 10 hours and caused estimated millions of dollars in damage.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries when they were hit by falling debris.

Previous story, below.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — An early morning fire has devastated an iconic building whose architectural beauty and past as South Carolina’s state mental institution have long been features of both the capital city’s skyline and historic lore.

Officials said crews were called early Saturday to a three-alarm fire at the Dr. James Woods Babcock Building, part of a shuttered former mental health asylum that was slated to be converted into a luxury housing development.

In the fire, the first three-alarm blaze in the city’s recent history, Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins told reporters the building would likely “burn to a shell.”

A cause had not been determined for the fire, which Jenkins said engulfed all three floors of the structure. One firefighter was reported as receiving minor injuries.

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