|Tri-City Baptist faces a trial by fire|
|Written by News Desk|
|Wednesday, 11 September 2013 11:10|
A view from the front of Tri-City Baptist Church during the blaze last weekend.
Photo: Ansley Lawniczak
Pastor Tom Woodfin (standing center) leads church services from the front lawn of Tri-City Baptist under the shade tree.
Photos: Special to The Indy
By BRIAN HODGE
Church members from Tri-City Baptist Church were shaken by the destruction of their church building on Saturday, but when they met for service Sunday morning under a shade tree the feeling was still joyful.
"Our church building was destroyed, but church is more than just the building. The church is the people and God, and we are all very much intact," said Pastor Tom Woodfin.
The church, located on Highway 14 in Millbrook, was destroyed by fire early Saturday morning. Neighbors noticed the flames around 4am Saturday morning and called 911.
Chief Larry Brown of the Millbrook Fire Department said his department received the call at 3:56am Saturday morning.
"We received our initial call from a lady who was leaving for work. We received several more calls from neighbors in the Crossgates community.
Brown added that the building had likely been burning for more than an hour before the 911 call was placed.
"I got up and saw lights flashing from the fire trucks. I did not know what the big deal was until I looked over and saw the church in flames," says Ray Strait a neighbor whose property is adjacent to the church property.
Bobby Woodfin is Tom's son and the assistant pastor at the church. Bobby and his wife Melissa lived in an apartment on the church's second floor. They were not at home at the time of the incident and no one was physically injured as a result of the fire.
Tom Woodfin says that his son and daughter-in-law were fortunate they were at home.
"I was at a pastor's retreat and so they were at my home babysitting when the fire started. We are so grateful to God that no one was harmed. The things that burned was just stuff. People can not be replaced," Woodfin said.
While most of the "stuff" can be replaced Woodfin said he did loose several cherished books, some gifts from friends that have passed. As of Sunday Woodfin was still hoping that the church's organ could be salvaged. He said the authorities covered it with a tarp, but would not allow him to enter the building to inspect it yet.
Captain Doyle Campbell, Millbrook's Fire Marshall said that the Alabama State Fire Marshal's office was called in because this was a church fire. Church fires are of particular concern said Steven Holmes with the Alabama State Fire Marshal/Department of Insurance.
Campbell said his investigation concluded that the fire was accidental in nature and electrically related.
Campbell said in addition to Millbrook fire units from Elmore, Deatsville, and Holtville responded to the blaze.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 19 September 2013 11:02|
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