Historic church near Walterboro hit by fire

provided fire destroyed much of the Great Swamp Baptist Church on Hendersonville Highway near Walterboro late Friday.

A four-alarm fire that broke out just after 10 p.m. Friday destroyed much of a historic church near Walterboro, according to an official from Colleton County Fire-Rescue.

Lightning is the likely cause of the blaze at Great Swamp Baptist Church on Hendersonville Highway, Chief Barry McRoy said.

The fire remains under investigation.

No one was in the building at the time and no one was injured, McRoy said.

More than 80 Colleton County firefighters took about two hours to get the fire under control, he said. The church is about 3 miles south of Walterboro.

The first floor of the church was damaged, but many items were salvageable. The second floor, the roof and the adjacent fellowship hall were gutted.

A man who lives near the church reported hearing a loud boom, which he described as lightning striking a tree, just before the fire broke out. He went outside to find the church on fire.

Heavy black smoke was pouring from the two-story wood frame church and the attached fellowship hall by the time firefighters arrived. Flames burst through the roof a short time later.

Built in 1880, the church had no sprinkler system.