MIDLAND- Members of the First Baptist Church in Midland will have to find somewhere else to worship for now after a early morning fire charred their temporary sanctuary. They were gathering at their Fellowship Hall, as their main sanctuary is under construction, but flames destroyed a temporary platform stage and right now that hall has a lot of smoke damage.
"It's a disruption in our schedule," Minister of Media, Jim Cawthon, said. "It's frustrating to have a fire of any sort. Now, we're grateful that there were no people involved, it's just material items."
"The call came around 6:30 Monday morning. On arrival, the fire units found heavy smoke coming from the building. They had a platform stage built inside that auditorium. The fire started on the platform stage," Midland Assistant Fire Marshal, David Hickman, said.
Burnt wood to melted plastic is what the fire left behind. It also charred the center of the stage and the back wall also received extensive damage. According to fire officials, the fire started to reach towards the ceiling but firefighters rushed in just in time to stop it. Church officials had to bring out fans to ventilate the church house because smoke billowed throughout the entire building. Fire investigators still going through their findings to pin point a cause.
"We are looking at all of our options as far as heat sources on the platform," Hickman said.
Ashes may stain the floors of this church, but the clean up processes begins.
"So now we're going to be looking at what we need to do for restoration of the room find temporary worship space in the meantime and access the damage and move forward from here," Cawthon said.
No word yet on the total cost of the damage nor the cause of the fire. Church activities including the school and child care are canceled for the rest of the week, Sunday services will be held at the Midland Center in downtown Midland.
Officials are asking members to check the church's facebook page for any updates on the restoration and where future services and activities will be held.