PULASKI COUNTY (WSLS 10) - Crews are still working to determine how the fire that destroyed the Pulaski Church of God started at about 11 p.m. Tuesday.
Police had closed the road the church is on, Bob White Boulevard, for much of the day.
Although the cause remains unknown, it's been determined that the fire started in the rear of the sanctuary, according to the town of Pulaski fire chief Robbie Kiser.
The church's music pastor Tony Eads, said he learned about the fire himself shortly after crews arrived on scene and he went straight there.
"As soon as I pulled in anywhere close and I saw the flames coming out of the church, and I've got to be honest, my heart sank," recalled Eads.
Kiser said it was a passerby who saw the smoke and called 911 and that due to the 20-mile-per-hour winds, the fire spread fast.
Neither the sanctuary nor the building next to it could be saved.
The church's youth pastor, Jeremy Fleenor, was at the church on Wednesday to survey the damage.A lot of people in this church that have a lot of memories. A lot of worries for them. For those folks to show up and see where a lot of them got married and a lot of them grew up, and see that gone, it's heartbreaking," said Fleenor.
"A lot of people in this church that have a lot of memories. A lot of worries for them. For those folks to show up and see where a lot of them got married and a lot of them grew up, and see that gone, it's heartbreaking," said Fleenor.
Kiser said the federal Department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms is investigating the damage, which is a common procedure in the case of a fire this size in a church.
Agents haven't determined a cause, but Kiser said that after the ATF is done investigating, his department has more work to do.
"It was the whole roof that fell, so it was too big to remove by hand, so when they get done with their investigation, we'll probably go back in there with machinery if it's still burning and remove that," explained Kiser.
Eads said the building could be more than a $2 million loss, but he's confident his congregation will recover.
"You look at it in this condition and you wonder, can it ever be that great again? And I think absolutely the answer is yes, a resounding yes it can," said Eads.
The church's congregation will be hosting a service at 7 p.m on Wednesday right across the street.
Fleenor also said he feels blessed the church's gym was not damaged in the fire, so the church still has somewhere to operate out of.
Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved