Opelika church a total loss after fire guts building - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Opelika church a total loss after fire guts building


What happened to Trinity Presbyterian Church in Opelika is the worst things that's happened to pastor Chris Duncan. "I've never felt on this deep level the sense of being out of control," said Duncan.

More than a week after the fire a gentle rain soaks what's left of Trinity Presbyterian Church, a cleansing to begin anew.

It appeared the church took a direct lightening hit. Fortunately, no one was in the church at the time. It happened Saturday night a week ago.

The fire raged on for about an hour in the attic before Opelika firefighters got the call, a blaze so hot the small building to the left of the church practically melted but by the time firefighters arrived it was too late. In fact, Duncan says the church was still smoldering 6 hours later and the next day.

The fire department was able to save the sanctuary but Duncan says he did lose all of his prized 19th century books, some church records and the building of course. Today, this congregation of 300 is clinging to memories, memories spanning 40 years.

"People have gotten married here, buried here and baptized," said Duncan.

Duncan estimates the loss to be around $1 million or more. Church leaders say they have insurance and plan to build on the same spot on India Road.

The church was built in 1973, celebrating its 40th anniversary. Duncan says for now they'll hold services at the Cultural Arts Center on Glenn Street in Opelika. The church school located next door was not damaged.

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