Faunsdale church destroyed by fire

Published 12:27 pm Monday, February 9, 2009

FAUNSDALE — An early-morning fire destroyed the First Baptist Church of Faunsdale Monday. According to Deputy State Fire Marshal Jebb Harrison the total burn of the building, located on Old Uniontown Road, prevented investigators from determining the area of origin.

“There does not appear to be any forced entry; there were no signs of theft and no injuries,” Harrison said through a press release Monday.

“I got the call approximately 12 last night,” Claude Lewis, a deacon of the congregation, said. “They said the church was on fire. We came and everything was on fire. We just watched it burn.”

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According to Lewis, firefighters from Faunsdale and Linden responded to the call.

The church had last met for services Sunday afternoon.

“We had services. We left about (12:45 p.m.),” Lewis said.

“We usually cut the lights and everything off when we leave. So there wasn’t any power on,” church member Anderson Turner said. “So I don’t really see it catching on fire by itself.”

Several church members gathered at the site of the blaze Monday were struggling to cope with the loss of the building that had stood since 1890.

“It’s a dark day in our life because we all were raised up in this church,” First Baptist member Amelia Smith said.

“This was basically just our family church,” Lewis said while staring at the charred remains of the the building that housed the worship of more than 100 people just 24 hours earlier. “I grew up in this church. It’s kind of hard to talk about it. But when I look at this spot now, I still see this church standing here. We raised our children in it and had a lot of services here.”

Lewis said some of the church members gathered at the site Monday morning to grieve the loss, appreciate the past and look to the future.

“We’re a small congregation, but we’re tight knit. Something like this will only bring us closer together,” Lewis said. “A few of us met this morning and prayed, sang a hymn and asked God to bless us.”

The congregation intends to conduct services at City Hall in Uniontown this Sunday.