ALTUS, Okla. (TNN) - An Altus church is without a place to worship after an unexpected fire just hours before Sunday church service.
The fire started at The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints because of some electrical issues in the church’s main lobby. High winds caused the fire to spread into the church’s sanctuary, gym, and attic.
Bishop John Barron said seeing the church engulfed in flames was gut-wrenching it’s a place he’s come to love and worship in over the years.
“I watched them trying to fight the fire, but I knew by that point that the building was just gone. It was sad initially and as I watched in the thick smoke it was heartbreaking,” Barron said.
He even shed a couple of tears watching the church fall apart.
Ronna Parker has been an active member of the church since 1993.
She said it’s tough, seeing a place she watched grow to crumble to pieces.
“It was very heart wrenching to see your sanctuary you worshipped in and had a lot of friendships and people that have left this area that is hurt,” Parker said.
Barron said he’s beyond thankful the tragic incident started before the morning service and none of the surrounding homes caught on fire.
“This was a serious blaze, and walls were collapsing, firemen putting a ladder against the way and could easily just fall right into the blaze if it collapsed. We are really grateful no one was injured, no one was in the building, none of the firefighters were injured,” Barron said.
He said he’s excited about rebuilding but will miss the many memories he’s made at the church.
“Of course there’s the nostalgic, the memories of being here, and it is a sacred place to us there’s lots of sacred moments that happened in this building,” Barron said.