Methodists open doors to Catholic church displaced by fir -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Methodists open doors to Catholic church displaced by fire

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An East Texas church is starting the repair process after a car plowed through its front wall yesterday and set the building on fire.

Officials say a small SUV drove into the Mary, Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Malakoff, just west of Athens, just before 1-30 Thursday afternoon.

No one inside the church was injured.

Officials aren't sure why the driver crashed. They say he was air lifted to a Tyler hospital.

The smell of smoke still lingers at the site and the rubble remains in the front of the church. But church members say they were able to start moving forward Friday morning by boarding up the wall the driver drove through.

A church employee told us off-camera that church members stood guard at the church all night, watching for hot spots. Church officials met with insurance agents Friday morning. The extent of the damage is still unknown, but the church employee said it's expected the building is nearly totaled.

And while the congregation is currently without a home, the First United Methodist Church is opening its doors. Reverend Charles Kimble said that after hearing of the accident, they immediately knew they needed to help.

"We share families. We have some that are members of our church that have members of their family that are members of that church, so it would only be normal for us just to open up to them," he said.

All masses offered by Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church will continue as planned at the Methodist Church except for services held on Sundays. Those services will be held at Malakoff High School.

Church employees say approximately 90 families attend the church and have been displaced by the fire.

It's not known when the church will be able to reopen their doors.

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