Fire at downtown Columbia church causes $250K in damage

akflanagan@thestate.comJune 10, 2014 

— The Columbia Fire Department responded to a fire at a downtown church late Tuesday morning.

Crews received the call to Centennial Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church at 1431 Laurel Street around 11:32 a.m. Tuesday, according to Assistant Chief James Helms, a Columbia Fire Department spokesman.

“The initial call came into the Fire Department as a fire alarm activation,” Helms said. “The first arriving unit reported smoke and an active fire in the basement fellowship hall.”

Helms said fire crews quickly extinguished the fire and initiated the smoke removal process, and the fire was under control by 12:13 p.m.

“All church personnel had safely evacuated the building prior to the arrival of fire crews, and no injuries were reported,” Helms said.

Helms said there were 38 firefighters and five additional Richland County EMS on the scene.

Damage estimates are $250,000, and the cause was due to an overheated fluorescent light ballast, according to Helms.

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