A Fort Worth church was gutted in an early-morning fire Friday.
Just before 5 a.m., firefighters were called to the Greater Canaan Missionary Baptist Church in the 1600 block of Effie Street.
Flames were shooting through the roof when firefighters arrived.
Fort Worth fire officials say the fire moved through the building quickly and the roof showed signs of collapse, so firefighters were ordered out of the building and began an exterior attack. A total of 40 firefighters and 15 vehicles were called to the fire.
Throughout the day church members salvaged what little they could from the debris.
“There’s a lot of things that we just really cherish, that we love about our building,” said Pastor Kenneth Sayles, Sr. “We spent a lot of time beautifying it.”
Pastor Sayles was called around 5 a.m. about the fire and got to the scene before firefighters extinguished it around 5:45 a.m.
“We just stood back and watched it burn, knowing it was a structure, just a house, that we as Christians meet in,” Pastor Sayles said.
Church members were able to find very little of what they left behind at the last services on Wednesday night. About all they could pull from the ashes were a few trays full of change, to be used for the children’s field trips as part of vacation Bible school.
“It’s not in vain, we’re still going to go as planned,” said Sally Lewis, a church member.
The church was built 55 years ago and the fire department estimates the damage at $415,000. It’s a significant loss for this 60 member congregation, but not the end of the church.
“I know that it’s not the end, it’s just the beginning of a new start,” Pastor Sayles said. “Knowing that God is in everything.”
SOURCE: Chris Van Horne
NBC DFW 5