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Members of historic Fort Mill church show ‘sense of community’ after fire

Members of a historic Fort Mill church didn’t let a fire stop them from having services on Sunday.

A Dec. 9 fire caused an estimated $1 million in damages to Unity Presbyterian Church on Tom Hall Street. Fire officials say a first-story bathroom ventilation fan caused the fire.

Church members held a prayer vigil on Thursday, and on Sunday they held their first worship services at the church since the fire.

“It’s been really important for us to gather today as we recover,” said Mark Diehl, interim senior pastor. “It’s important for us to come together and have a sense of community here ... that we continue to move forward in spite of what has taken place.”

The Fort Mill Fire Department got the call around 10 p.m. on Dec. 9. Six fire stations and more than 50 firefighters responded to the church.

Officials say the fire started in Unity Hall, a two-story building attached to the church’s sanctuary. The building housed an office, storage and meeting space.

It took more than four hours to control the fire, according to church leaders.

The church’s families thanked Fort Mill-area first responders on Saturday by bringing them cards and donuts.

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Amanda Harris covers issues related to children and families in York, Chester and Lancaster County for The Herald. Amanda works with local schools, parents and community members to address important topics such as school security, mental health and the opioid epidemic. She graduated from Winthrop University.
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