Across South Carolina

Firefighter's family claims negligence


CHARLESTON --- The family of a firefighter who died in a furniture store blaze claims in a lawsuit that building safety codes were ignored and changes were made without approval to the building where he and eight other firefighters perished.

The lawsuit filed Tuesday on behalf of Charleston Fire Capt. William Hutchinson claims negligence by the store owners and a dozen other defendants and seeks unspecified damages for grief, sorrow and suffering.

It is the second lawsuit filed in the Sofa Super Store fire June 18, the largest single loss of firefighters since the attacks on the World Trade Center.

An attorney representing Sofa Super Store owner Herb Goldstein and his family partnership did not immediately return a telephone message Wednesday.

Duke seeks OK to build nuclear plant

GREENVILLE --- Duke Energy has asked regulators in South Carolina to approve its decision to spend up to $230 million developing a new nuclear power plant.

The company has said it is leaning toward building the new power plant near Gaffney but says in its filing with the South Carolina Public Service Commission that a final decision on where to build the power plant has not been made.

In the filing, Duke Energy says the money is needed to make sure opening the nuclear power plant remains an option for the next decade.

Stolen goods, suspect found hidden in trunk

ABBEVILLE --- Officers looking for a burglary suspect say they not only found some of the stolen goods in a trunk during a traffic stop -- but they also found a suspect.

Abbeville Detective Curtis Killian says 20-year-old Anthony "Vert" Patterson told officers to arrest him when they opened the trunk Sunday. Police say they also found stolen items from a second burglary in the trunk.

State still spends little to fight teen smoking

CHARLESTON --- South Carolina continues to rank near the bottom nationally in spending to discourage young people from smoking, according to a report released Wednesday.

But the incidence of youth smoking has still dropped in recent years.

South Carolina, with the lowest state cigarette tax in the country, ranks 45th in the nation -- down from 38th last year -- in funding anti-smoking programs for youths, according the report by a coalition of health groups.

In each of the past two years, the state spent about $2 million, according to the report from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and the American Lung Association.

-- Edited from wire reports