No injuries in fire inside downtown church fellowship hall - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

No injuries in fire inside downtown church fellowship hall

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Columbia fire crews say nobody was injured when fire broke out at a church in downtown Columbia Tuesday morning.

A spokesperson for the fire department says they were called to a church at Laurel and Bull Streets just before noon and found smoke coming from the building.

The fire broke out in the basement of the fellowship hall of the Centennial Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Two people were inside at the time, but they got out safely.

"It took a while for it to be found, because it was concealed," said Assistant Chief Jamie Helms. "It produced a lot of heavy smoke. The smoke spread throughout the church. Right now, that's not uncommon, we normally have it on every fire. It's just going to take us a while to get the smoke out."

The fire was extinguished quickly, but firefighters were on the scene for a while to vent smoke out of the building.

Bull Street was shut down but has been reopened.

Damage is estimated at $250,000. Investigators determined an overheated flourescent light ballast started the fire.

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