LaGrange church destroyed by fire, community stunned - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

LaGrange church destroyed by fire, community stunned

LAGRANGE, GA (WTVM) -

Teaver Road Baptist Church in LaGrange is mourning after their sanctuary was destroyed by a fire. The blaze tore through the sanctuary, but other buildings connected to the building were saved.

Nonnie Lumpkin says she's spent the past 30 years of her life as a devoted member of Teaver Road Baptist Church making what some may see as just a building, a part of her life.

"This right here is a very hard thing to cope with; it's just like a death. Me and my husband- my second husband- we got married here 28 years ago will be January 19th. It's the most wonderful church I've ever been to in my life. [These are the] most wonderful people that I've ever met," said Lumpkin. 

Members watched their beloved church burn to the ground. Hours later, they held service across the street, in spite of the fire.

Longtime member, Bentlie Cole says they want to show that they are strong, "[It just] shows how tough we are [and] we can get through anything."

A cross perched just inches from the building, was not harmed. Members say it gives this tight-knit church hope and reminds them to hold on to their faith.

"It just shows you how great God is and where he's at," said Cole. 

Troup County Fire Chief Jerry Heard says the cause of the fire is unknown and the investigation is ongoing.  He adds the initial call came from a passerby around 7:00 a.m.

He said firefighters had to kick in the sanctuary door when they arrived, and flames already were visible. A wall of the building collapsed shortly after 10 a.m.

Investigators with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the state fire marshal's office are investigating, which is a common practice for church fires.

Copyright 2012 WTVM. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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The main sanctuary of the Teaver Road Baptist Church was destroyed by the fire, See Photos More>>

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