ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Members of the Anson United Methodist Church still gathered for service Sunday morning, even after a fire completely devastated the nearly 150-year-old landmark early Saturday morning.
“Just a beautiful, beautiful building,” recalls church pastor, Bruce Morgan. Now, just piles of bricks remain.
The Anson Church of Christ opened their fellowship hall for the Methodist church members, where they chose not to focus on the devastation, but the memories the church holds.
Crews from Hawley, Hamlin, Stamford and Abilene Fire Departments all rushed to put out the blaze after receiving a call at around 3:15 Saturday morning.
Glowing, bright orange flames started coming out first from the back of the sanctuary with many witnesses saying they believe the building may have been struck by lightning during the recent storm. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
“We fought fire for about 7 and 1/2 to 8 hours yesterday and were still here cleaning up hot spots and trying to keep this from being a bigger issue than it is,” explained Anson Fire Department Chaplain, Robert Patterson.
Smoke billowed from the remaining hot spots that the Anson Fire Department has been closely watching and they say that it could take at least a week to completely extinguish everything.
The Methodist church was erected in 1908 and is a historical landmark with priceless features, like the stained glass windows, also holding a story. The windows were ordered from Germany and installed in 1910.
“On Sunday mornings, you would be preaching or leading and singing and all the sun would come from behind the clouds and you knew God was in charge,” said Pastor Morgan.
The church plans to continue holding their services at the Church of Christ for the next couple of weeks before moving services back to their fellowship hall, which was not harmed by the fire.