AP NEWS

Blaze claims building along Columbia Highway North in Aiken County

August 3, 2018

A building along Columbia Highway North in Aiken County is a complete and utter loss following a structure fire early Thursday night.

On scene, Center Fire Department Sgt. Ken Finucan described the fire – first called in around 4:30 p.m. – as a “massive, square burn.”

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, no one was injured, according to first responders. The fire, located adjacent to 3732 Columbia Highway N., was fully knocked down and under control around the same time.

A conglomerate of fire crews responded to the fire: Center, Monetta, Eureka, Sage Mill, Ridge Spring, New Holland and Aiken County were all on scene. Aiken County Sheriff’s Office deputies directed traffic near the fire as one lane of the highway was shut down for firetrucks, water tanks, personnel and hoses.

Finucan said Center Fire Department was the first to arrive.

The now-razed building, a neighbor told the sergeant, was strictly used for storage.

The fire’s cause was initially reported as a lightning strike, a point reiterated over the scanner, but Finucan could not immediately confirm that.

Strong storms blew through the county Thursday evening.

At 6 p.m. Aiken Electric Co-op reported more than 40 customers were without power, and South Carolina Electric & Gas reported 178 outages throughout Aiken County. SCE&G’s outage map cited lightning as a main cause.

Power outages and restoration timelines can be checked online at sceg.com/storm for SCE&G; and outages.ecsc.org for Aiken Electric Co-op.

Multiple road obstructions and downed trees were reported throughout Aiken County on Thursday, as well.

Staff writer Kristina Rackley contributed to this report.

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