The fire at Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in the city of Greeleyville comes amid a rash of fires that have erupted at black churches across the US south, at least two of which have already been declared arsons by fire investigators.
It also comes roughly two weeks after a white gunman opened fire inside the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston some 65 miles (105 km) away.
Mark Keel, chief of the State Law Enforcement Division, told the newspaper that the blaze was still burning on Tuesday night. He said the cause of the fire could not be determined until the flames were out.
He told the newspaper that while lightning from a recent storm system in the area may have sparked the blaze, he was troubled by the recent spate of church fires in the region.