Members clearing debris from burned out church

Posted by: John Shryock - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Cleanup crews and church members are on the scene of a Hayneville Road church at this hour, gutting the inside of the burned out building. One pickup truck was being filled with debris, some of which is still smoldering.

The fire started before sunrise at Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church at 3601 Hayneville Road. Firefighters were on the scene at 5:00am and had the blaze under control within 45 minutes.

The damage is extensive. The roof system and interior of the building were heavily damaged. The 100 year old house of worship appears to be a total loss.

There were no injuries, however.

Pastor Thomas Moton, who grew up in the church and has led its congregation for the last 20 years, says it looks like the blaze started in his office. "You never think it's going to happen to you," Moton said, though he remains steadfast in his faith. His main concern: Where will he hold Sunday services?

Chief William Davis of the Montgomery Fire Department said the fire was a two-alarm fire, requiring extra firefighters. "It's a tragic thing that a church burns," Davis said, "but we don't know exactly what happened at this point."

The church family was planning a large anniversary celebration for next week to celebrate more than a century of worship.

An investigation is ongoing. There is no word on what started the fire.

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