UNION CITY, Tenn –As members were up getting ready for what should have been a normal Sunday service, firefighters were battling a fire at the Union City Baptist Church.
Firefighters got the call around 6:50 a.m. Sunday morning and found heavy smoke coming from the attic and ceiling of the building.
“There was quite a bit of smoke covering the neighborhood.” Neighbor Adam Burden said. “My wife’s father came in and said there was a building on fire. They weren’t sure if it was a home.”
Nobody was inside the building at the time but neighbors and church members told me they couldn’t believe it was happening especially Jonathan Keeton who was asleep at the time and is the son of the pastor who was in Oklahoma at the time.
“Disbelief will probably be the best thing. You know everybody says they think you are dreaming and that’s exactly what it feels like. You’re just not sure if that’s really happening or not.” Keeton siad.
Susan Taylor and her sister happened to be in town for a different event and told me she was shocked to hear about the church she grew up in and her father built.
“It’s sad because I can still see dad standing in the church pulpit. Burning the church deed when they paid it off.” Taylor reminisced. “They paid it off and invited daddy to come back.”
While WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News was filming video of the church, a small fire rekindled. Firefighters responded quickly and put it out. Investigators have not released the cause of the fire but do not suspect arson.
The spirit of the church won’t be broken, according to the congregation.
“Daddy always said that the building is not the church. It’s just something standing there but it’s the people in that town and church that makes up that.” Taylor said.
This is something that has been passed down through multiple generations.
“The church is the body of people it’s not the building..That spirit lives on here and will continue to live on.” Keeton said.