The Catch-Up: West Columbia Church Fire Causes Minimal Damage

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Mt. Tabor Lutheran Church in West Columbia had a fire on April 29, the church posted to Facebook.

In subsequent video updates, Rev. Wade Roof said the fire happened in the church’s assembly room and that no one was injured.

He called the damage minimal, but said the assembly room and surrounding classrooms suffered some smoke damage and some damage worse than that. He praised first responders in keeping the damage from being worse than it was and thanked the community for keeping the church in their thoughts.

“We can be so thankful that not only was it not much damage inside the church and everything is working well with our insurance companies,” Roof said in an update posted May 4. “Our insurance company has shown up and we continue to meet with them and with fire inspectors to move forward in the process that we're working through right now. And everyone has been absolutely not only wonderful to work with but absolutely a godsend to help guide us through this process of rebuilding, of healing and moving forward together.”

Bible study was postponed May 3 and for the foreseeable future, but the sanctuary was undamaged, Roof said. Worship was held in the sanctuary the Sunday following the fire on Friday and will be held there again this weekend.

Former West Columbia Councilman Dies in Car Crash

Former West Columbia City Councilman Boyd Jones has died. WestMetroNews first reported the news.

The Richland County Coroner’s Office confirmed Jones, 77, died in an April 30 crash on Garners Ferry Road.

““We are working with the South Carolina Highway Patrol to fully investigate this accident,” Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford is quoted in the May 1 post.

 “Master Trooper Brian Lee of the SC Highway Patrol reported a fatal collision on Garner’s Ferry Road (US 378 and Sumter Highway) in Richland County,” WestMetroNews writes. “He said the collision occurred around 5 a.m. Saturday. A 2017 Toyota Corolla was traveling west on Garner’s Ferry Road and ran off the road, hitting a guard rail. The Corolla veered back onto the road and was hit by a 2013 GMC truck. The driver of the Corolla was deceased, Lee said. The driver of the truck was taken to the hospital.”

Jones represented District 5 on City Council, with his last term ending in 2018. That seat is now held by Mickey Pringle.

Lexington to Get Another Starbucks

Another Starbucks is coming to Lexington.

“The chain has received a building permit to add a café at 356 Longs Pond Road near Interstate 20 in the Red Bank area,” The Post and Courier Columbia’s Mike Fitts reports.

“Starbucks has opened nine new stand-alone locations across Richland and Lexington counties since 2020, the same number as Charleston and Greenville combined, according to the unofficial website Starbucks Everywhere,” he writes.

The coffee shop chain is already prolific in Lexington County and surrounding areas, with five in Lexington (including one in the Target on Sunset Boulevard), two in West Columbia, three in the Harbison area (including one in a Target and one in the Columbiana Centre mall), two in Irmo (including one in a Kroger), one just across I-26 on Piney Grove Rd., one in Cayce, and one in Leesville, according to the Starbucks website.

Local Companies Give Gifts

Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon accepted a check from Mungo Homes for more than $5,500 last week, his department posted to Facebook.

The gift, which was given by the Mungo Homes Foundation to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Foundation, was donated in memory of Reserve Deputy Blaine Newman, who died from COVID-19 last year.

“The funds will be used to purchase equipment for reserve deputies,” the department writes.

In other charitable news, West Columbia-based Nephron Pharmaceuticals has gifted $10,000 to renew its partnership with the S.C. Governor’s School for Science + Mathematics, funding research internships for the school’s students.

A release from the company notes that Nephron was one of the first businesses to accept GSSM summer research interns.

"The Governor’s School’s summer research program is an incredible opportunity for students to get hands-on experience in life sciences. We are so proud to support it and to welcome student researchers. The students who have conducted research at Nephron have made a meaningful impact on our business and our community, and we know for them, as well as for the program, the best is yet to come,” Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron, is quoted in the release.

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