LITTLE RIVER, S.C. (WMBF) – Fire officials said Wednesday’s fire at the North Myrtle Beach Flea Market is being ruled accidental.
Multiple agencies were dispatched to the blaze at 100 Highway 17 in Little River around 2 p.m. on Feb. 3. Viewer-submitted photos and video showed heavy flames had engulfed the building.
Vendors spent the day Thursday going through the debris for salvageable items.
“I was born in 1934 honey,” said Betty Brewer, one of the market’s vendors. “His was stuff that was made before I was born.”
Brewer inherited antiques from her father, things like cast iron skillets from the 1850′s.
From there, she began collecting and selling items ranging from African wood sculptures to carnival glass.
She’s been at the North Myrtle Beach Flea Market every weekend for 25 years.
“They were family here,” said Brewer. “We look forward to doing it Friday, Saturday and Sunday every week. We had customers from all over the country that come once, sometimes twice a year to see us.”
Brewer even stayed at the flea market when a lightning bolt struck it about a decade ago.
“The other fire didn’t affect me at all, but this one has been the devastating one to lose,” she said.
Brewer and her husband, Sam, spent Thursday trying to salvage what they could after a fire burned most of the building’s western wing to the ground.
She says they lost five showcases full of antiques, history no one will ever get to see again.
“I had every kind of antique that you would be looking for,” said Brewer.
While Brewer lost valuable antiques, the Kelly family, who tie-die clothing by hand, lost hours of hard work.
“About three days, because you have to soak it in soda ash to do it properly, then let it set three days,” said Bridget Kelly. “There were probably 60-70 shirts in there alone.”
The owner says the flea market will reopen this weekend, with the exception of the burned wing.
Brewer, nor the Kelly family know if they’ll return to the flea market after losing their entire inventories.
Brewer says she’s waiting to see how her heart surgery goes before making a decision.
“I’m a little bitter today,” she said. “I’m sorry. It’s just too much.”
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