Crews investigating after structure fire in N. Charleston vacant church complex

VIDEO: Crews investigating after structure fire in N. Charleston vacant church complex
Source: Karina/Bolster/Live 5 News
Source: Karina/Bolster/Live 5 News
Source: Live 5
Source: Live 5

NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - Crews are investigating after a structure fire Friday morning in North Charleston.

The building, next to New Vision AME Zion Church, is located at 1337 Remount Road.

The call came in at 4:48 a.m. and the building was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived.

"There were loud noises like booms and I thought it was trash crumbling," said Antwonn Gathers, owner of a nearby barber shop. "I heard a lot of crumbling and crackling."

Gathers took video Friday morning showing the heavy clouds of smoke and large flames coming out of the building.

"I was like is that fire? So then I went back out and looked and, it was fire," he said. "At least 10-12 foot flames."

Crews had to attack the blaze from the outside because of a partial wall and roof collapse according to North Charleston Fire Marshal Cindy Killette.

Firefighters battled the flames and made sure hot spots were adequately put out within an hour.

The ruins of the building have now lead fire officials to investigate the cause.

"A lot of unsafe characters go back there," said Jenna Seagraves, a teacher at a nearby day care. "We know it's housing for some homeless people."

Seagraves said the kids from the day care usually play in the large field near the church during the day .
"It's very upsetting because the kids love to go out there and run around," she said. "There's plenty of open space and now it's no longer safe."

Friday morning a member of the church stopped by to view the situation.

He said church leaders have been trying to sell the property for some time. They've also had to chase folks, seeking shelter, out of the building before.

"Someone was over there boarding it up again," Seagraves said.

HAPPENING NOW: Crews are working the scene of a structure fire on Remount Road in North Charleston >>>

Posted by Live 5 News on Friday, December 8, 2017

The church member added they would rent out the large building to people in the community.

"I didn't know it was that big until now," Gathers said. "Due to the fact there is a lot of damage, [it was a good 15 minutes of major burning] from the time that I heard noise to the time the fire truck came on scene."

Gathers said while the situation is unfortunate, he's glad the flames didn't jump over to where his business is located.

Remount Road near Murray Drive was temporarily closed because of the fire. No injuries were reported because of the fire, Killette said.

This is a developing story. Please check back for more updates.

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