Lindale church still standing thanks to alert citizens - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Lindale church still standing thanks to alert citizens

Photo Source: Stephanie Frazier Photo Source: Stephanie Frazier

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

LINDALE, TX (KLTV) - The eerie coincidences are starting to look more and more like a pattern. For the seventh time this year, firefighters battled to save another East Texas church - this time in Lindale.

Wednesday morning, crews were called out to Fellowship of Prairie Creek. Luckily, they were able to put this fire out quickly.

The church is still standing, officials say, because of good Samaritans' watchful eyes.

"I decided to pull in and see if it was smoke," said Wayne Green. "And, when I opened the car door, I smelled the smoke."

Wayne and his wife Carroll are not members of FP Creek, but they immediately called 9-1-1 when they saw smoke coming from the front door of the church.

"We know how'd we feel if it was our church," said Carroll.

ATF investigators say someone broke through the back door of the chapel building. The fire started in a basement closet toward the front of the church. The more than 100-year-old chapel was just renovated last summer.

"God woke me up at 5:55 this morning, and I started praying," said Jeanna Hill, a member for 10 years. "Praise God that everything's okay!"

Hill showed up with other "Fellowship" members.

"It's a miracle," said Camilla Charles, co-pastor of the church.

"We're not going to take it personal. It's just a stamp of approval that we're doing something right," she said.

"We are very fortunate here, at F.P. Creek, and our hearts go out to the churches that lost everything," said Pastor Steven Charles.

He hopes his church is the last one to burn.

"It's certainly a time for us to support and pray and see this come to an end," he said.

The ATF said it is too early to officially rule the fire, suspicious. But, agents say because the fire was put out so quickly—the damage so minimal--authorities can dust for possible fingerprints.

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