LAKE CITY, S.C. (WBTW) – Multiple crews with about 75 firefighters were called to a fire in Lake City on Saturday at the home of Darla Moore, mega-donor to the University of South Carolina.
The fire, at 1 Pine Bay Road about 4 miles west of Lake City, was reported at around 11:26 a.m. No one was injured, according to Maj. Mike Nunn with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office.
Sam Brockington, assistant chief with the South Lynch Fire Department, said the cause of the fire looks to be natural, nothing suspicious. “We know the room the origin, but have not identified the exact cause of the fire.”
The fire caused extensive heat and smoke damage throughout the house, with the center of the center portion of the home burned heavily, Brockington said. “There is significant damage to the contents of the home.”
News13 talked with a friend of the family who was visiting from Charleston. He said the front of the house appears to be mostly fine, but the back is badly burned. He said there is a lot of smoke damage.
According to the New York Times, Moore is the sixth generation of her family to live on the farm, which is now the Moore Farms Botanical Garden. The garden posted a notice on its social media site on Saturday: “Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, we are closed for the rest of the day. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”
Financier and philanthropist Darla Moore is a multi-millionaire who has been called one of the most successful women in the banking industry and the highest-paid woman in banking. She has donated more than $75 million to the University of South Carolina and its business school is named after her.
Moore has had a difficult month with her 89-year-old mother dying on April 1.
This is a developing story. Count on News13 as we work to learn more.