Early last Wednesday morning, two churches in the area suffered losses from fires. Flat Fork Baptist Church was determined to be arson, and suffered damage to its basement, while Peoples Church is a total loss. The fires are currently under investigation.
Pastor Freddie Schoolcraft of Peoples Church had this to say, “Losing the church building by fire is certainly a heartbreaking event in our lives, and the lives of our congregation. Our plan is to move forward with a new building. Many have shown compassion and offers of help have come our way. We appreciate the outpouring of support. Please remember us in prayer.”
Alicia Johnson, a member of Flat Fork Church, said, “Flat Fork Baptist Church means a lot to our little community. All the churches in our community mean a lot, and mostly everyone has attended these churches at some point. While we are all devastated, we know God is in control. We are a tight knit community at Harrison. Everybody knows everybody. Our hearts are broken, especially for people’s community church, they lost everything. Our church is still standing but there’s a lot of work to be done. We know it’s just a building but it’s everything to us. God’s work will still go on, even if we have to gather at our homes for a while. We did have on offer from three different churches to use their church or even join church with them, that’s just how our community is! We are few in numbers but are great in our faith!”
The cleanup process of both churches and the rebuilding of one will be a long task to say the least but as always, the community will pull together and make it through.
The West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office released the following statement regarding the fires:
On Wednesday, Sept. 29, investigators from the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office responded to the Harrison area of Clay County, after a report of two separate church fires located within one mile of each other. The fires also occurred within one hour of each other. After examining both fire scenes, investigators determined the latter fire to be incendiary in cause. The cause of the initial fire is currently undetermined. Both fires remain under investigation.
CHURCH 1: A bible from Flat Fork Church found during cleanup of the severely damaged basement.
CHURCH 2: The aftermath of People’s Church, deemed a total loss.