Yet another black church in the South went up in flames Tuesday night, this time historic Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal in Williamsburg County, South Carolina — 20 years after it was burned to the ground by Ku Klux Klan members.
The Clarendon County Fire Department said shortly before midnight ET that the fire was under control, but it released a photo showing the church with its roof apparently completely collapsed.
Williamsburg County Fire Chief Randy Swinton told NBC News it wasn’t known whether the fire was intentionally set, noting that a lightning storm passed through the area about the same time the blaze was reported.
No injuries were immediately reported, but The Kingstree News of Williamsburg County reported that the church was “gutted.”
It’s the latest in a string of fires at predominantly black Southern churches that began after a white gunman killed nine black worshipers at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, about 50 miles south of Greeleyville, on June 17.