BISCOE, N.C. -- Investigators are trying to determine the cause of a fire at a church in Montgomery County Tuesday morning.
Grant Hunsucker with the Montgomery County Emergency Management said EMS received a call at approximately 2:00 a.m. about a fire at the First Baptist Church on E Main St. in Biscoe.
The Biscoe, Troy, Candor and Star fire departments all responded to the scene. It took approximately four hours for firefighters to get the fire under control. No injuries were reported.
"I was here this morning at 3:00. When they came to my door, I was afraid a teenager got killed in a car accident. So this was a relief that didn't happen," explained pastor Larry Wilson, who resigned three weeks ago after serving as minister for 30 years.
Wilson said, however, the church's damage is devastating to the entire community.
"We are the church that people see as looking out for folks in the community. Poor folks always come here. If you need help, this is the place to go," he said.
Fire officials and the church's former deacon and minister said the church is not a total loss, and they were able to salvage some items --including some hymnals and musical equipment. The new addition to the church, the Fellowship Hall, was not damaged, thanks to a firewall, a church member told WFMY News 2.
The SBI is investigating the cause of the fire. A deacon speculates it might have been an electrical fire due to the heavy damage in the front of the building. Biscoe fire chief Tripp Myrick said early assessments did not indicate anything suspicious about the cause of the fire, but the SBI is taking the lead on that determination.
Church members held a prayer vigil Tuesday morning outside the Fellowship Hall. Members prayed when they arrived at the church after hearing about the fire.
"I was married in this church in 1973. I was saved in it. I was 19 years old. I started going to this church with my wife 40 years ago. My daughter just got married in here last year," said retired deacon Jerry Smith.
"This is a very strong member of the community. This church is really active in everything around town."
Wilson said the church will rebuild. Right now, Smith added, its members need only prayers.