TIMMONSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – A winery near Timmonsville is nearly a total loss after a fire tore through it early this morning. It also sent two firefighters to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The fire at Cartersville Country Winery broke out around 5 a.m. Tuesday morning. The owner of the winery, Tom Langston, who lived on the top floor, was the first person to spot the flames, when he smelled rubber burning and went down to the kitchen to figure out where the smell was coming from. That’s according to Aubrey Totten, the sales and marketing manager of the winery.
“He went down where there’s a kitchen area on the bottom and he saw that there was flames coming up from the RV behind it. When he got down there, he thought he could put it out. He tried a little bit and then he called in reinforcement. It just turned into a… that,” Totten said while pointing at the obliterated structure.
Firefighters from several different agencies responded to the scene this morning to assist in the firefighting efforts. That includes Sardis-Timmonsville, Howe Springs and West Florence fire departments. Two of those firefighters were injured. One of them received a shoulder injury. The other was hit in the head with a brick when a wall caved in. The Fire Marshal for the West Florence Fire Department says the firefighter who received the shoulder injury was released from the hospital earlier this evening and has no surgery scheduled at this time. No word yet on the current condition of the other firefighter who was hurt. But we are told both are expected to be O.K.
The Sardis-Timmonsville Fire Chief Jeff Dennis tells me the structure is not a total loss but major repairs will need to be done. Totten says the flames “devastated everything” on the left side of the building, including the owner’s home, the space where they host parties and weddings, and the kitchen.
“It broke my heart. There’s a lot of work. There’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go in that people… I don’t know,” she said holding back tears. The winery has been in business since 2009 and was on the brink of peak season before Tuesday’s fire. But Totten says they still plan to host events such as weddings, parties and wine tastings.
“We haven’t been through a disaster like this. But we’re determined. We’re a group of hardworking individuals that get out here,” she said.
There’s no word yet on what caused the fire or an exact dollar amount of the damage.