Suspicious Fire Burns Ministry, Other Buildings

NORWAY -- Authorities say a suspicious fire destroyed several buildings in Norway on Wednesday, including a ministry.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the State Law Enforcement Division and Norway Police are on the scene.

Orangeburg County Fire District Chief Operations Officer Teddy Wolfe said the fire is suspicious. Three nighttime fires have been reported in vacant buildings in the town over the last two to three months.

The Third Street fire started at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday. About 30 firefighters were at the scene at one point. Crews were putting out the fire until about 5 a.m.

It burned Three Crosses Ministry, a car service shop, a store and a vacant building. ATF is investigating because the ministry was destroyed.

Chuck Blake, the owner of the service shop, said the fire messes up his plans.

"I am out of a shop now," Blake said, noting he was using a portion of the building as a service shop and had plans to open up a tire business and perhaps sell used cars at the site.

"I will survive it," he said.

The fire did not damage his Savannah Highway business.


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