DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Emergency crews are responding to a church fire in Summerville on Wednesday afternoon.
The fire was reported at First Emmanuel Baptist Church off Dorchester Road around 2:14 p.m.
Dorchester County Fire Rescue responded to the call within two minutes.
The pastor was the only person inside the church when the fire began and safely evacuated the building.
According to the fire chief, the structure was approximately 25% involved when crews arrived, with the majority of the fire showing from the attic and back portion of the church.
Around 25 minutes into battling the flames, the roof began to collapse and crews retreated. They continued fighting the fire from outside the structure. It took around 30 minutes to get the flames under control, but firefighting efforts continued with mutual aid from neighboring agencies.
Dorchester Road between the intersections of Orangeburg Road and Bacons Bridge Road was shut down shortly after the fire began and is expected to reopen before 6:00 p.m.
No injuries have ben reported.
Sources tell News 2 that the State Law Enforcement Division and the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms have been called in to investigate, which is standard practice for fires that involve places of worship.
Editor’s note: This story is breaking and will be updated.
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Author: Tim Renaud