Local Baptist church members stand strong after fire

Members of a local Baptist church are standing strong after their place of worship went up in flames.

The Austin Fire Department says the loss is estimated at $750,000.

Staring at what used to be Onion Creek Baptist Church, Deacon Tandy Reed reminds members that the church is not the building, it's the body.

"Those buildings were from 1961 and 1977. They're just material things. We will rebuild. He has a better plan for us down the road," says Deacon Tandy Reed, Onion Creek Baptist Church.

The Austin Fire Department responded to the blaze in Southeast Austin around 9:00 Sunday night. Many people in the area captured video of the large flames which caused major damage, including a roof collapse.

This proved to be difficult for firefighters. They couldn't enter the building because the flames were too intense. Instead, they had to fight from the outside. It took them 45 minutes to put out the blaze.

"Just the tables, chairs, books and stuff. It's all replaceable. Nobody got hurt so that's a blessing," says Deacon Reed.

Although an investigation is still ongoing, Deacon Reed says authorities told him what might have been the cause.

"They said it was a lightning strike last night. They traced it to where it came in and supposedly where it came out. it didn't get grounded, it went up in the attic," says Deacon Reed.

We're told that Onion Creek is the third oldest Baptist church in Travis County. Some families have three generations that have grown up there.

"There is so much that can come out of this. You know, it's not a loss. We're going to gain," say Martha Kyser, church member.

Three different congregations worshiped out of the church. They are meeting on Sunday to have a combined service and show that their faith stands strong.

The sanctuary building was spared. Church members say at this time they don't need any donations but they are asking for prayers.


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