Investigators rule out arson in Lee Co. church fire

Investigators rule out arson in Lee Co. church fire

LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - The Auburn Fire Department says investigators have ruled out arson in the fire that gutted one of the oldest churches in Lee County. 

On Monday, Auburn firefighters and Southwest Volunteer firefighters extinguished a fire that destroyed St. Matthews Missionary Baptist Church in Lee County.

The church is located along Lee Road 10 near Bee Hive Road. There were no injuries in the fire, and the cause is still unknown and is being investigated.

The church is a total loss after crews responded to the blaze around 7:30 a.m. There have not been any other recent church fires in Lee County.

The State Fire Marshall's office visited the scene to investigate, per standard procedure when a place of worship experiences a fire.

The pastor says he is brokenhearted, but faithful God has a plan for them. He says they did have insurance and plan to rebuild.

The church family is thankful to the firefighters who were able to save the church's van by breaking out the window, putting it in neutral and rolling it away from the building. Firefighters also saved a storage shed by dousing it in water.

The pastor says this Sunday, his 25-member congregation will meet under the trees near the burned down church for service. An account will be set up soon at Auburn Bank for those who would like to donate to the church.

Church members say they are still in shock and disbelief, but are faithful.

St. Matthew's Church is more than 140 years old and perhaps one of the oldest churches in Lee County.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

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