Federal agents will investigate a fire that broke out over the weekend at an African-American business organization’s headquarters in South Carolina, officials said on Sunday.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said its agents were assisting local law enforcement in their investigation of the fire, which destroyed the offices of the Beaufort County Black Chamber of Commerce early Saturday.
Damage to the building was estimated at $2 million, the agency said.
The investigation comes amid media reports of scattered racial tensions across the nation following the election of Donald Trump as president. In the days leading up to the vote, a black chuch in Greenville, Mississippi, was destroyed by fire and the words “Vote Trump” where spray painted on one of its outside walls.
Officials in South Carolina did not release additional details of the chamber of commerce blaze. Greenville, South Carolina, television station WYFF reported that the building was under construction and slated to open in January.
The station also reported that the project had been targeted even before the black business group ever broke ground on the building when someone spray-painted “racist” on a sign announcing what was being built.
(Reporting by Sharon Bernstein and David Ingram; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn