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Friday May 27th, 2016 2:27PM

Fire heavily damages Clarkesville Square

By Rob Moore Reporter
CLARKESVILLE - Authorities re-opened Washington Street through downtown Clarkesville just after noon Thursday, following an overnight fire that destroyed a large part of the east side of the Clarkesville Square.

Many of the streets in the vicinity of the east side of town remained closed as fire investigators continued their work.

Shops on the west side of the Square were open.

Fire broke out around 11 p.m. Wednesday at Sweet Breads restaurant on E. Water Street. The fire moved quickly to the back of other buildings on the east side of the Square, according to Clarkesville Fire Chief Jerry Palmer.

"It's a 100-year-old Square with 100-year-old heart pine - it's heavy timber construction - and once it got in those void spaces, it took off," said Palmer.

Personnel from Clarkesville, Demorest, Habersham County, Tallulah Falls, Baldwin, Cornelia, White County and Rabun County battled the blaze through the night and into Thursday morning.

Palmer said the loss of the historic buildings was heartbreaking, but there were no injuries, and he was thankful for that.

"One thing that I'm very certain of [is] the people in this town, this community will find a silver lining in this," said Palmer. "The good thing is no one was hurt. Everything that was lost can be rebuilt."

While the origin of the fire was Sweet Breads restaurants, investigators have not said specifically how the fire was sparked.

This story will be updated.

WCHM Radio in Clarkesville contributed to this story.
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