Region 8 firefighter responds to blaze at his own church

Region 8 firefighter responds to blaze at his own church
Image shows the outside view of the damage
Image shows the outside view of the damage

BAY, AR (KAIT) - Region 8 firefighters worked to save a church Monday afternoon when it caught on fire.

Firefighters were called to the Methodist Church, located in the 300-block of Central Avenue in Bay, around 12:30 p.m. for a fire.

Region 8 News spoke to one of the firefighters at the scene, Carter Keith.

Keith said he was the one of the first men who received the call and responded. He said it was especially hard because he has attended the Methodist Church his whole life.

Without knowing the severity of the fire, he said the drive there was gut wrenching.

"To hear the call come out and the name of my church over the radio, my heart sank," Keith said. "I was praying it was a false alarm."

No one was in the building by the time firefighters made it to the scene and there were no injuries.

When fire broke out pastor Donald Lewert was the only one in the building and he made it out safe.

Lewert said the roof will have to be replaced because there are holes everywhere in it.

He said this is an obstacle for the congregation because they recently started construction on an addition to the building.

Lewert said although this will set them back some, it will not steal the joy of what the church has set out to achieve.

"We'll all pull together," Lewert said. "That's the nature of a small church. It's definitely the nature of this church. It's very important that we still have all of our activities that serve our community and serve our congregation. We will be up and running by tomorrow."

Lewert said he is thankful the building is not a complete loss.

The church family will not be able to use the sanctuary, but they will use the fellowship hall to hold their gatherings.

Assistant Fire Chief Kevin McMasters said the fire is still under investigation but they suspect an electrical issue sparked it.

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