Genco fire ruled accidental, owners plan to rebuild

Brian Shoup met the Genco Inc. staff Thursday afternoon.

At 5 p.m. Friday — the end of his first day as the company’s general manager — he asked three employees to make sure he’d set the alarm correctly. He didn’t want anything to go awry.

Then came Saturday’s predawn phone call. It was his new boss. Shoup’s Myrtle Beach office had become a blazing inferno.

“When I got that call, it was, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” Shoup said. “I’ve been talking to these folks a long time. We put a game plan together. I was here one day.”

As they walked through the sooty debris Tuesday morning, the initial shock seemed to have subsided for Shoup and owner Steve Chapman. Yes, most of the 16,000-square-foot building at 1320 U.S. 501 is destroyed. But no, the six-decades-old company isn’t shutting down.

“We’re not going anywhere,” Shoup said. “We’re going to be a stronger company because of it.”

Chapman hopes to rebuild at the same site. His schedule Tuesday included an appointment with a real estate agent to discuss buildings where he could temporarily relocate.