UPDATE: A church in Meigs County burned down Monday. It took help from five fire departments to put out the blaze.

Channel 3 has reached out to the fire department to learn what caused the fire, but has not heard back.

Now, all that's left of Peakland Baptist Church is the foundation and part of the front wall.

This comes just months after the building survived an earthquake.

"It just got worse and worse," recalled neighbor Alice Gambali.

Gambali was unpacking in her new home Monday, when she looked out the window and saw smoke across the street coming from the Peakland Baptist Church basement.

She said she watched those clouds of smoke turn into something much worse, "It was just completely engulfed in flames. It was billowing smoke, dark black smoke. The whole road really was blocked. You couldn't even see the road for the smoke."

Gambali was worried at first for her neighbor close to the church and for her own home.

"This was the door and I was standing inside,” Gambali said as she showed us her outside door, “Just my hand from inside against the door, I could feel the heat coming onto the door. That really scared me."

Her neighbor is okay, and so is her home.

Across the street bricks and ashes fill the church parking lot. Caution tape surrounds the building. You can see columns that have fallen over and debris around the foundation.

It was a heartbreaking sight for many community members, like Lisa Whitted.

"You got friends that go to church here. I went to church here sometimes and I know a lot of people that went to church here and stuff. This was a community church," said Whitted.

Church Pastor Marcos Riojas told Channel 3, he was out of town for a conference.

Pastor Riojas sent the following statement thanking first responders and saying church will continue:

“First and foremost, we'd like to thank each and every one of the Meigs County Volunteers who risked their lives today, trying to put the fire out, at Peakland. We are all very grateful for your unselfish help. I pray that you all be blessed, in Jesus name.

Second, we'd like to thank everyone for all of their love and support during this very trying time. As we patiently wait for the proper investigation to be done, we will remain prayerful, knowing that God will work things out according to His riches and glory.

In all of this, we know that He is in absolute control. And so we continue to look to the Father for all of our answers. We do not know all the particulars. But, one thing we do know is, We Will Not Be Shaken, or Discouraged. We will not back down from the rulers of darkness. And we will march on, in hopes that God will receive all glory and honor, in Jesus' name. We must praise Him in the Valley, the same as if we're on the Mountain Top.

We will resume services in the fellowship hall. Wednesday at 6:30 pm. As well as Sundays at 11 am and 6pm until further notice. Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”

Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.


PREVIOUS STORY: Multiple fire agencies are responding to a church fire in Meigs County on Monday afternoon.

The fire is at Peakland Baptist Church on Peakland Road in Decatur.

According to the Graysville Volunteer Fire Department, crews from Rhea County, Bradley County and city if Athens are helping Meigs County fire crews with the blaze.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Channel 3 has a crew that is working to learn more.

Stay with the WRCB app for updates to this story.