HINESVILLE, Ga. (WSAV) – Officials say lightning caused a fire to break out a Hinesville church late Tuesday afternoon.
Crews were called around 4:30 p.m. to Trinity Missionary Baptist Temple on Live Oak Drive.
Hinesville Fire Captain Robert Kitchings says the chief arrived first on the scene to find the roof already collapsing.
“Shortly before we got the call there were two people inside the church working. They heard a loud boom and the fire started,” Kitchings explained. “They were able to get out and call 911.”
No one was injured.
About two hours after the fire started, local emergency management said the National Weather Service confirmed lightning was the cause of the blaze.
“We heard something like a bomb. It just exploded. When I was running through the sanctuary, the Holy Spirit caused me to look up and when I looked up, the fire was already falling,” said Pastor Lucille Smiley.
Pastor Smiley says though devastated, she and her congregation plan to move forward despite the sudden loss of their church home.
“That which was meant for evil, God is gonna turn around. He’s gonna turn it around,” said Pastor Smiley.
The captain said in total, about 35 firefighters responded to the scene from Hinesville, Fort Stewart, Walthourville and Liberty County.
Kitchings added that Liberty County Fire helped run their calls in the meantime.
“It’s taken a great bit of help, but we’ve got the fire under control, and we’ve got things covered across the city as well,” he said.
Several church members arrived on the scene Tuesday, many shocked to see the damage.
According to online reports, the church was founded in 1990.
Pastor Smiley tells News 3 there will be a benefit service and concert help to raise money for the church on Saturday, June 22nd at The Full Gospel Tabernacle Church of God in Christ in Hinesville at 3 p.m.
There is also two ways to donate:
A building fund has been set up at Heritage Bank in Hinesville.
You can also give via CashApp to their account:
Contributions to this report by Lewis Levine, Coastal News Service