Nazarene Church Catches Fire On Christmas Day


Congregation members are still in shock after hearing their church caught fire on Christmas Day.

“It couldn’t have been our church,” thought Johanna Voigt, a member of The Church of the Nazarene in New Ellenton. “It has to be somewhere else, and [my friend] said ‘no’ it happened in our church. I was just speechless. I couldn’t talk.”

When Voigt found out the church she has been going to for more than 20 years was on fire she came right away.

According to firefighters the fire started in a furnace in the attic. It then spread through the ductwork.

The fire fighters were able to extinguish the blaze in about 15 minutes. They say they got there just in time.

“We did a good job as far as looking at it from the outside,” said New Ellenton Fire Chief Robby Foster. “The church doesn’t look like it sustained any damage. It has a lot of internal damage from the smoke. Like I said, another five minutes and you would have seen fire from four blocks away.

The five volunteer fire units on the scene had to force their way into the roof to check for hot spots.

It took about three hours before they secured the entire building.

After everything was all clear congregation members walked through the church to survey the damage.

“My family goes here and worships here, and we all feel just terrible,” said Voigt. “We hope and pray that it can be some how fixed again.”

SC Lays Down the Law on Domestic Abuse Offenders

Domestic Violence

In 2003, Aiken County led the state with the most domestic violence deaths in one year. For at least the last four years South Carolina has been in the top 10 for the most domestic violence cases per year.

Statistics like these have caused South Carolina legislators to take action. As of January 1, penalties for domestic violence offenders got tougher.

“I really think that once offenders see it not going to be a slap on the wrist and then a turn back out the door, they’re going to understand that it’s fairly serious at this point,” said Riley Bost, a Domestic Violence Investigator with the Aiken County Sheriff’s Department.

Under the old law the maximum fine for a first time offender was $500 or 30 days in jail. That’s now jumped to minimum fine of $2,100.

The maximum penalty for second time offenders was $1,000 or 30 days in jail. It’s now $5,000 and a year in prison.

Third time offenders had a mandatory sentence of 90 days in jail. Now a third domestic abuse offense is considered a felony and punishable by one to five years in prison.

Kay Mixon is the director of the Cumbee Center, a refuge for battered women and men. She says the changes are a step in the right direction.

“The best way to reach a batterer is in his pocket,” said Mixon. “They should have to pay.”