Authorities: More time needed to determine cause of church fire

Authorities: More time needed to determine cause of church fire
Source: Carter Jones

Authorities say they are continuing to investigate the cause of the fire that destroyed Mount Zion AME Church in Williamsburg County Tuesday night and have not yet determined the cause.

The fire broke out at approximately 8:30 p.m. and took nearly two hours to extinguish. Police say the church is a total loss.

Crews remained on the scene along with deputies from Williamsburg County and agents from the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms investigating the cause of the fire.

Special agent for South Carolina Craig Chilcott said it is premature to release specific information about the case while the investigation is going on.

"We haven't ruled anything in, or anything out at this point," Chilcott said. "We'll let the case dictate and we're going to investigate it as the facts will ultimately determine what occurred."

A firefighter was transported to the hospital for heat exhaustion but was treated and released at approximately 4 a.m. Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, a federal investigator told the Associated Press the cause of the fire did not appear to be arson.

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