UPDATE: Lafayette church catches fire Sunday - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UPDATE: Lafayette church catches fire Sunday

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WALKER COUNTY, GA (WRCB) -

UPDATE: A  North Georgia congregation is trying to figure out what to do next after their church went up in flames Sunday.

Firefighters spent about an hour knocking down the blaze.

It broke out just before 2 o'clock Sunday afternoon at Corinth Baptist Church in Lafayette.

Corinth Baptist church has around 250 members who are now left without a place to gather. Another church congregation says it knows exactly what Corinth members are going through.

The inside of Corinth Baptist church in Lafayette is a charred mess.
 
"It's just been really devastating for us and the whole family," says church member Lisa Freeman.

Word spread quickly to church members Sunday afternoon as smoke billowed from the  building.
 
"He sent out a mass text saying our church was burning. And I automatically just put my shoes on and came up here," says church member Lisa Freeman

 "It was tears at first. But then all the church people gathered around. We all held each other and we remembered when we started here probably seven years ago, we started in a very small building," says Lisa Wallin, the pastor's wife.

 "As a family, we are so close-knit together. I mean, this is where we come together as one. This is where we worship," says Freeman.

The once pristine building is unrecognizable on the inside with $200,000 in damages.

Firefighters believe the accidental fire started in the church's kitchen and spread, burning the fellowship hall and classrooms.

Church members say they are sad but not shaken.
 
"Sometimes The Lord can put those tragedies there and you know, there's something greater down the road. So we know He's still in control," says Wallin.
 
"I know what they're going through here. I sure do," says Bill Sylar.

Sylar, a member of nearby Sunnyside Baptist, stopped by to offer comfort and support.
 
"Our church burnt last October. It was an arson fire," he says.

He says he is confident the supportive community will have the Corinth church back on its feet in no time.
 
"Six months later we were sitting in a new church with all the donations and help from the community," says Sylar. "Stay strong. And we love you."

"We will rebuild," says Wallin.

"We know that this is just a building, that we as the people are the church and we will overcome this," says Freeman.

Church members say there is an older, smaller building on the campus they can use in the meantime. They say they are thankful no one was inside when the fire started.

Although the fire appears to be accidental, the state fire marshal is investigating.


PREVIOUS STORY: Walker County firefighters spent part of Sunday afternoon battling flames at Corinth Baptist Church on Corinth Road in Lafayette.

According to church officials, the fire started just before 2 o'clock in the church kitchen and spread to second floor classrooms. There is heavy smoke and water damage inside the entire church. It took firefighters about an hour to knock down the flames.

Walker County fire officials say they do not suspect foul play and estimate the damages to be several thousand dollars worth. 

No one was inside when the fire broke out and no one was hurt.

The church has approximately 200 members that regularly attend.

The fire is under investigation.  

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