LaFollette church goes up in flames

By: Allie Spillyards Email
By: Allie Spillyards Email

LAFOLLETTE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A church in Campbell County was engulfed in flames Sunday morning.

The fire occurred at the Fincastle Church of God at 221 Old Middlesboro Highway in LaFollette.

The Campbell County Sheriff's Department drove by and noticed smoke coming from the church at about 3 a.m. Firefighters arrived within minutes and continually pushed back flames throughout the night.

Multiple fire stations had to be called to fight the fire.

No nearby fire hydrants could be found, so water had to be trucked in to fight the fire, delaying an end to the flames.

Officials said the fire started in the basement, but no cause has been found.

"This morning it really hurt me real bad when I pulled up and seen it and when I got the call," said member Buckey McCulley.

The church was destroyed, and members could only recover a Bible and some membership records from the basement.

"The bible was open to a verse saying there's a time to build and a time to tear down," said Reverend Mike Smith.

There was no service this morning, and churchgoers had to cancel the Christmas children's play planned for the morning.

Officials will continue to investigate whether arson could have been involved.

Fincastle Church of God has about 100 members and the building has stood since 1979.

Reverend Smith said several churches have offered the congregation space, but the group will probably continue to meet in the fellowship hall until a new structure can be built.

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