Congregation members prayed for safety of the firefighters
An evangelist from Louisiana, Sam Stegall, planned to preach during two services Sunday at Lighthouse Tabernacle in Crothersville, instead woke around 6am to someone beating on the door of his trailer located behind the church on SR 31, saying the church was on fire.
Smoke was coming from the rear of the church. A 911 call was placed then Stegall called the church's pastor, Jerry Miles, and Miles called member Denver Glenn who also rushed to the church.
When Crothersville-Vernon Township Fire Department firefighters arrived, the wraparound portion of the building was on fire, and the fire had spread into the sanctuary. Jackson County Emergency Medical Services personnel also responded.
The church, built in 1975, The fire destroyed nearly everything inside the church, except for bibles.
Fire Chief Charles Densford says the cause remains under investigation, and the state fire marshal was alerted to the blaze because it involved a church.
Six fire departments battled the blaze - Crothersville-Vernon, Jackson-Washington, Grassy Fork and Brownstown in Jackson County along with Jennings Township Volunteer Fire Department in Austin and Scottsburg Fire Department.
Congregation members prayed for safety of the firefighters and brought food and water to the scene.
The pastor, Jerry Miles said he is thankful for all of the support he received from community members. Some people even offered up space for his church members to have services.
Miles said he plans to use the fellowship building behind the church as a place to have services until the church is repaired.
Church officials say it is heartbreaking, but plan to rebuild.