Fire runoff a concern

A charred sign is about the only thing recognizable Monday at the site of Premier Environmental Services, which caught fire late Saturday and burned until Sunday morning. The water from a fire truck still spraying the site is visible in the background.

After three days of camping out to bring attention to kidnapped children in Africa, about 30 protesters were "rescued" by U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn's office Tuesday.

The group started its West Ashley march and camp-out event Saturday, spotlighting the plight of thousands of kidnapped or "invisible children" on the African continent.

A main target is Ugandan rebel cult leader Joseph Kony, who is accused of abducting 20,000 children and forcing them into anti-government guerrilla warfare.

As part of their gathering off Wallace School Road, the protesters vowed not to leave until a person of high government influence came to rescue them.

The group reached out to U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint, but by Tuesday morning only Clyburn's office had responded, said Susan Rickard, events coordinator for the Charleston-based group Invest in Children.

An official representing Clyburn, D-S.C., drove from Columbia to rescue the group, which had dwindled to about 30. About 110 people had originally taken part, but many were students and had to get back to class, Rickard said.

In a letter, Clyburn noted that "as a veteran of civil rights protests, I know that change doesn't come quickly. I urge you to keep up the fight and know that through efforts like these, change will come."

"The word has gotten out in South Carolina and in Charleston about the children," Rickard said. "It's been 23 years and, by all means, has been unknown to the majority that it's actually going on."