Preacher plans to rebuild burnt church - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Preacher plans to rebuild burnt church

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More than 30 people in Dade County are looking for a new church after theirs was destroyed in a fire Sunday morning.

Neighbors say they called the fire department after hearing an explosion at the Rising Fawn Church of Christ Sunday morning after midnight.

"It was a huge boom. It woke me up. I was asleep. It was one of the loudest booms I've ever heard," said Brenda McMahan.

The early-morning boom shook Brenda McMahan's house across the street and woke most her neighbors, including the church's preacher.

"Heard the boom and got up and got out and the church building was on fire," said Preacher Jim Shadwick.

Preacher Jim Shadwick lives next door to his church. One day later, it remains in ruins and taped off as state fire investigators dig through the mess.

But Shadwick said he thinks he knows what happened.

"Propane gas ignited and exploded," he said. "We had a space heater there that had the pilot light burning and evidently the gas got down to it finally and...the big boom."

Shadwick had insurance on the Rising Fawn Church of Christ and said he has plans to rebuild.

"It's important because we're a family and families like to be in the same house together," he said.

Now an investigation is underway to find out what caused the early morning fire.

"Thank God it happened at 1 a.m.," McMahan said. "And they weren't at church because they could have been killed. No way they would've gotten out of that."

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