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National Guard armories across the state closing because of lead

Almost a dozen National Guard armories in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee are closing to the public because of concerns over low levels of lead. (Tonya Brown/WPDE)

Almost a dozen National Guard armories in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee are closing to the public because of concerns over low levels of lead.

National Guard officials say low levels of lead were found in armories that once had indoor firing ranges and, though the level is low and poses no risk, they decided to close the armories to be safe.

"We're not aware of any health hazard resulting from the lead residue. And the reason that we are being proactive and closing the facilities in meeting this National Guard directive. Is just out of out overall concern, being ultra conservative in the safety of the public," said Colonel Andrew Batten.

An armory just over the border in North Carolina closed earlier this year due to the same concerns.

National Guard employees and soldiers are still working out of the facilities.

The armories that will be temporarily closed to the public in our area are:

  • Andrews
  • Bennettsville
  • Conway
  • Dillon
  • Georgetown
  • Hartsville
  • Hemmingway
  • Kingstree
  • Marion
  • Myrtle Beach
  • Timmonsville

The public often rents out the armories for different community events, including wedding receptions, and the buildings are also used as voting precincts and shelters during natural disasters.

Therefore some in the community say the closures will have a big impact, especially in Marion.

"I think that's going to hurt a lot of folks because this time of the year. And they getting ready for the prom now. And they like to have some place to gather after the prom and different things," said Rev. Francis Dennison.

Guard officials say they're working to get the armories cleaned and re-opened as soon as possible, but they don't have a set timeline.

The others across South Carolina that will also be temporarily closed are:

  • Abbeville
  • Barnwell
  • Camden
  • Chester
  • Clinton
  • Easley
  • Eastover
  • Fort Mill
  • Graniteville
  • Greenville
  • Greenwood
  • Greer
  • Lancaster
  • Laurens
  • Monks Corner
  • Newberry
  • North Charleston
  • Orangeburg
  • Rock Hill
  • Saluda
  • Seneca
  • Sumter
  • Union
  • Wellford
  • West Columbia

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