Fire Destroys 130-Year Old Church in South Carolina

Fire destroyed a a century-old church in Iva Saturday leaving investigators and church members with questions of how it started.

Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church is just off Highway 81 near the Abbeville County line on Charles Beatty Road.

The fire started around 2 p.m. Saturday and it took eight fire departments to knock down the flames including crews from Starr, Iva and Abbeville.

Agents from the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, along with investigators from the State Law Enforcement Division are trying determine how the fire started.

Several church members showed up to watch as more than 80 firefighters battled the flames.

Some couldn't believe what they were witnessing.

"I didn't know what to think but I heard of other churches burning but I never thought that Pleasant Grove would be one before Christmas," said Grace Smith.

The church's pastor, Rev. Stephon Giliard, held Sunday services as scheduled at the Marcus D Brown Funeral Home on South Main Street in Anderson.

The church was founded in 1874 and has about 400 members.

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