MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach Fire crews have extinguished the blaze and reopened the highway after a large fire ripped through a popular Myrtle Beach nightclub early Thursday morning.
The nightclub, Time Out, is located at the intersection of Oak Street and 8th Avenue North, in an area known as the "Super Block," right across the street from the old Pavilion Site and the current Myrtle Beach Zipline Adventures attraction in the heart of Myrtle Beach.
Firefighters arrived to a massive blaze at about 3:30 a.m.
"Most of the fire was on the second floor," one firefighter told WMBF News.
The fire was so big, firefighters were worried that the flames could spread to other "Super Block" businesses. As the fire raged, firefighters say the roof of the building collapsed, causing a concern as to the structural integrity of the building.
"The fire department told me good thing the fire wall held up, because we have a thick fire wall between our building and Time Out. So thank God, because of that we were not affected. It held up, so we just have some damage from water, that came through the wall or from the roof," says Victor Tatura, the owner of Club There.
His business shares a wall with Time Out, and he watched the flames getting closer to his roof.
"It always makes you nervous when something like this happens, rather it be your home or your business. You never think it's going to happen to you, it's something you see on the news. But it did happen to us. And we were really, really lucky," expresses Tatura.
Roads were shut down in the area as crews worked to douse the flames, including Eighth Avenue North and Oak Street, but police officers were breaking down the barricades to allow traffic through around 10:15 a.m., nearly seven hours after the fire sparked.
K9 units have been on scene to assist with the investigation. Lt. Sliker with Myrtle Beach Fire tells WMBF News that is part of their regular protocol after fires, and the dogs are used to detect any type of accelerant.
Investigators are looking at burn patterns and working to recreate the scene so they can understand exactly what happened.
"Right now, the area is still under investigation, and will be for quite some time," says Lt. Christian Sliker with Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue.
The building is being boarded up to keep the scene intact and to keep people from entering and injuring themselves.
"This is a high traffic area so our concern is the building itself and the surrounding properties, making sure the area is secure and taking the burden off of the property owners," explains Todd Setzer with A&I Fire and Water Restoration.
The company is working with the Fire Department.
"Initially we are trying to secure the building, make sure any contents that can be salvaged are brought out, making sure no additional damage is done, and the neighboring community and businesses can go on, out of harm's way," says Setzer.
Time Out's web site says the nightclub has been around for 23 years in this location.