Source: Fire at South Carolina black church wasn’t arson

Mt. Zion AME church fire
Smoke rises from Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal church late Tuesday, June 30, 2015, in Greeleyville, S.C., which caught fire Tuesday. The African-American church that was burned down by the Ku Klux Klan in 1995 caught fire again Tuesday night. (Veasey Conway/The Morning News via AP)

GRELLEYVILLE, S.C. (AP) — A federal law enforcement source says a fire that destroyed a black church in South Carolina was not the work of an arsonist.

The source says preliminary indications are that the fire at the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greeleyville, 50 miles north of Charleston, was not intentionally set and was not arson. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case publicly. The source says the fire is still under investigation.

The blaze was reported about 9 p.m. Tuesday as storms moved through the area. It gutted the church.

The same church was burned in 1995. Two Ku Klux Klan members pleaded guilty.

The fire occurred as federal authorities are investigating a series of fires at black churches in several Southern states. So far, there’s no indication the fires are related.

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