Georgetown County church destroyed in fire

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Thursday night, firefighters were working to save a Georgetown County church.

According to officials with Awendaw-McClellanville Fire Consolidated District, the Cumberland AME Church at 7650 Pennyroyal Road was largely destroyed.

Awendaw-McClellanville officials said they sent crews to assist Georgetown County Fire-EMS with the fire.

According to our sister station ABC News 4, Georgetown County fire officials says South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) are launching an investigation into the church fire. ATF was already on site Thursday evening.

Georgetown County fire officials said they initially had difficulty getting water to the fire, and that's why Awendaw-McClellanville came in to help.

Reverend Barbara Nelson, the church's pastor, said he thinks lightning struck the steeple.

He also said the church recently made improvements to the facility, to better accommodate its 140 members.

The building and much of its contents were destroyed in the fire.

"Although we lost a beautiful sanctuary, I’m thankful to God, just that little portion was saved that kept our church records," Rev. Barbara Nelson.

ABC News 4's Lindsey Maloney spoke with parishioners of the church.

They said images of the fire are burned into their minds.

"I had a sinking feeling. Dismay. I actually didn't come out last night, I didn't want to see it," said Pontha McCants, parishioner and choir director at Cumberland AME.

Even so, McCants said the community knows healing will come.

"It's hurtful, it's just I have strength and belief in knowing that it's going to be alright. God has built many churches and he will rebuild this one if it's his desire," said McCants.

This story will be updated as more information comes into the newsroom.

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