GREGG COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Three East Texas church buses were severely damaged by fire Tuesday morning.
It happened in the parking lot of First Baptist Church of Liberty City in the 4700 block of FM 1252 in Gregg County.
A bus and a van were completely gutted by fire, and a second bus severely damaged. Pastor Paul Michael Vacca says firefighters were notified shortly before 5 a.m. Tuesday of a vehicle fire.
"And then the wind which was pretty high; it's still pretty good right now, just kept pushing that fire to where it hit a second and then a third van," Vacca said.
Fortunately, the Sabine Volunteer Fire Department is within eyeshot of the front of the church.
"And then the fire department arrived here in time to put it out before it got on to our fourth van," Vacca stated.
At the time, no one with the church knew it was happening, but the fire department controlled the fire.
"It looks like some grass got burned right behind it, but it looks like it originated with one of the vans, but we really don't know," Vacca said.
After investigators arrived, they notified the church.
"Our administrator got the call from the fire marshal's office that they were here and that they were going to investigate it," Vacca revealed.
And they moved the van away from the buses to get a good look at the debris. The fire was so hot the vehicles were sitting on rims.
The Gregg County Fire Marshal left the scene mid-morning. The buses and van were people-movers.
"Just used for ministry, from children's ministry up through our senior adults. And so we'll definitely have a need to get those replaced as soon as we can," Vocca said.
But Pastor Vacca remains positive about the incident.
"The van and the buses are God's. We're just stewards of it so we're just waiting to hear back from the fire marshal's office, our insurance and do what we can to be found faithful with the stuff God wants us to have," Vacca added.
The fire is still under investigation. The Gregg County Fire Marshal's Office has not said whether or not the fire is suspicious.