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Rock Hill Community Theatre gutted in morning fire

The Rock Hill Community Theatre, housed in the former West Main BaptistChurch, was gutted today in an early morning fire, officials said.

"The theater is a total loss," Fire Chief Mike Blackmon said about thebuilding, where a 25-member cast outfitted in special costumes performed"David Copperfield" on Saturday.

No one was in the building, officials said.

The fire leaves the Rock Community Theatre without costumes and a home toperform today's 3 p.m. show.

"Today¹s performance has been canceled," said Steve Thrift, president of theRock Hill Community Theatre. The fate of Friday's performance is unknown, hesaid.

Saturday's performance wrapped up around 10 p.m., Thrift said."We turned all the breakers off in the main building," Thrift said."Everything was just fine when we left."

Around 4:25 a.m., the Rock Hill Fire Department responded to a fire at 236W. Main Street.

"It was engulfed when we got here," Blackmon said as smoke bellowed from thebuilding that sits in front of the Pilgrims' Inn. "Most of the flames andfire appeared to be coming from the back side."

Blackmon said approximately 21 firemembers contained the fire in nearly 45minutes.

Officials have not determined how or where the fire started, Blackmon said.However, he said, the roofless building suffered extensive fire and smokedamage. A damage estimation was not available this morning.

The charred building remnants sit in front of Pilgrim¹s Inn.

The inn suffered minor structure damage as a result of the fire, CaptainRusty Myers said.

"It appears to have some melted vinyl siding," Myers said. "The damage ismostly cosmetic."

A damage estimate was not available this morning, he said.

Myers will continue to investigate the fire this morning.

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