Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013
Early Morning Fire in Royalton
UPDATE 10:05 p.m. Sunday, October 27th
FRANKLIN COUNTY -- The town of Royalton lost it's oldest church in a fire early Sunday morning. No one was injured. Fire officials say the First Christian Church is a complete loss.
"I thank God," says neighbor Gary Ratliff. "It could have been worse."
Ratliff, who lives just a across the street, says the heat from the flames was enough to wake up his grandson.
"My grandson felt the heat from the fire and he woke us up," he explains.
Fire fighters from Royalton, Ziegler and surrounding areas were called to the scene. Fire Chief Mike Hooker says no one was inside the church when the incident began, and the cause is still under investigation.
"This time of year, everybody is firing up furnaces and things like that," says Hooker. "It could be anything."
Fire crews contained the fire after about three hours, but not before the church was completely destroyed.
Nearby cars and homes also sustained damage. The intensity of the flames melted the side panels to Ratliff's home.
"It was just the heat," says Ratliff. "That's what got the house."
Hooker explains, "When we first got here, we started cooling the structures next to it. There were some vehicles that sustained some damage."
Fire officials will try and conduct an investigation before the church is torn down.
"We are in the process of trying to find someone to come in and take it down in the next day or so," says Hooker. "We are afraid of having the roads open and the sidewalks open next to it."
The First Christian Church was built in 1924. There is no word yet on if the congregation plans to rebuild.
FRANKLIN COUNTY-- An early morning fire destroyed the Christian Church in Royalton Sunday.
According to Royalton Fire Chief Mike Hooker, firefighters got the call around five o'clock. When they arrived on scene the three story brick building was fully engulfed in flames. It took about four hours to extinguish the fire.
Multiple fire departments on scene included Royalton, Elkville, Hurst, Zeigler, West Frankfort, and Williamson County.
There's no word yet on what started the fire. The Fire Marshal is on scene inspecting the building. The structure is a complete loss.
Wind: 9 MPH
Humidity: 79 %