Fire destroys historic church - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Fire destroys historic church, Sunday service planned for lawn

(Source: Roy Martin) (Source: Roy Martin)
NEWBERRY, SC (WIS) -

Fire crews from Newberry County and Lexington County worked for hours to put out a fire at a historic church in Pomaria just off Interstate 26. The church is a total loss, but members are invited for services sunday on the church lawn.

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster says the fire started at St. Paul Lutheran Church at 6 a.m. Thursday.

"I don't know how many times I've come by this church," said Foster. "When I rode up on the scene, it broke my heart."

The church is located on South Carolina Route 773 near I-26. Sheriff Foster says Route 773 near the church is partially closed, and he expects traffic to be affected on I-26, as well.

According to its website, the church celebrated its 250-year anniversary in 2011. The land on which the church stands was an original land grant of 68 acres from King George III of England.

The current worship hall was dedicated in 1941.

Generations of families called St. Paul Lutheran their home from baptism to burial.

"My aunt, who is 91, this was her first church," said Joyce Scott. "She had her first church service here. There are a lot of memories that are gone."

Edwin Dowd was baptized at the church 68 years ago.

"My parents are buried here, my grandchildren were baptized here," said Dowd. "It's just part of the community here."

There are no reports of injuries.

Law enforcement from Newberry County, SLED and ATF are working to determine the cause of the fire.

A member of the church council says Sunday services will be held on the front lawn at 11 a.m. this week.

Copyright 2013 WIS. All rights reserved.

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