HUGHES, AR (WMC) - A church family in Hughes, Arkansas is left without a place to worship after an early morning fire destroyed their building.
Firefighters responded to St. Mary Baptist Church around 6:15 a.m. Tuesday where flames poured from the building.
Crews from Hughes and Horseshoe Lake battled the fire, which investigators say started at the rear of the church before spreading to the roof.
The cause remains under investigation.
The 92-year-old church continued to smolder hours after firefighters left.
Pastor Dedric Patterson said the fire started in the back of the church in the kitchen.
Fire crews got the call around 6:15 a.m., and Pastor Patterson said he arrived about an hour later to find the church still fully engulfed in flames.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and the church had been locked up since Sunday's service.
According to Pastor Patterson, his deacons left the church locked up and secured.
Hughes is a tight-knit community of just over 1,200 people.
“I think the strongest part of the community are the churches,” Pastor Patterson said. “So we will take that and try to rebuild and nothing else keep moving forward.”
At this time all the church asks for is prayers as they determine the next steps.
The church has been deemed a total loss, and only the front of the church remains.
Pastor Patterson has yet to walk through the charred remains to search anything that may have survived
Other churches in the area are stepping up to help and may even provide temporary spaces for St. Mary’s to hold services.