Warehouse fire leaves ‘significant damage’ to Ruff Road businesses

North Charleston firefighters were called to a fire at 4600 Ruff Road shortly after midnight. It was extinguished shortly before 3 a.m. No one was hurt.

North Charleston Fire officials don’t know what caused a blaze that reduced a linen-cleaning business to a pile of charred rubble early Tuesday.

Fire Department spokeswoman Bianca Bourbeau said the damage was too extensive, so the official cause will remain “undetermined.”

A group of Lowcountry Linen’s employees were gathered at 4600 Ruff Road about 7:30 a.m. to survey what Bourbeau referred to as “significant damage” to the building.

Scorched linens, warped irons, washers and dryers that were blackened with soot and piles of shattered cinder blocks were all that was left of the 5,500-square-foot business.

Fire officials determined the blaze began inside Lowcountry Linen and spread to Meridian Automation and Communications. The Threshold Theater workshop and Paul Cathy Contractors received minor damage, Bourbeau said.

Many of the business’ utilities ran on gas, employees said, which contributed to the fire’s intensity.

No one was hurt in the blaze, Bourbeau said.

Lowcountry Linen’s owner paced the business’ parking lot between calls on his cellphone later in the morning. He said he arrived at the blaze around 12:30 a.m., shortly after the fire ignited. By 7:30 a.m. he found himself easing the minds of employees who came and stood by his side.

Joslyn Wilson, 59, had worked at the business for six years. She woke up to news reports saying her main source of income had gone up in smoke.

She had planned to retire from the job. Now, Wilson said she wonders how she will make ends meet.

Wilson said the business received an order from Joint Base Charleston on Monday afternoon. Several linens from the Charleston Air Force Base were lost in the fire, she said.

“When things like this happen, there are a lot of different thoughts that go through your mind. At least it didn’t happen when we were working. Someone could have died,” Wilson said.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.