A fire that engulfed an Indiana church last Sunday destroyed nearly everything in the building except for a handful of Bibles that made it out of the inferno unscathed.
The Lighthouse Tabernacle Church in Crothersville will need to rebuild after the fire spread through its main building this past weekend.
According to the church, it is believed that the fire started in the pastor's office and spread through the building.
The blaze — with flames reportedly reaching 10 to 12 feet tall — required the services of as many as 45 firefighters from six different towns to extinguish, WLKY reports. No one was hurt in the fire.
According to the local CBS affiliate, nearly everything in the church was destroyed except for Bibles.
"I can't say 100 percent, but upper 90 percent, the Bibles were never burned," Crothersville-Vernon Township Fire Chief Charles Densford said in an interview with the news station. "It's actually amazing really."
The Christian Post reached out to the Lighthouse Tabernacle Church to verify the report. A church representative shared a photo with CP that "sums it up."
"The fireman is holding a whole stack of Bibles that made it through unscathed," the representative said of the picture in a Facebook message. "The two that were in [the] pastor's office (where they believe the fire began) were also spared."
"Not sure if anything else made it at this point."
The Seymour Tribune reports that evangelist Sam Stegall, who lives in a trailer behind the church, was alerted to the fire around 6 a.m. Sunday when a passerby who noticed smoke coming from the church banged on his door. Stegall then called Pastor Jerry Miles.
According to the Seymour Tribune, the fire spread to the sanctuary where there were wooden beams and chandeliers.
Miles and church member Denver Glenn headed to the church. By the time they arrived, fire fighters had already gotten there. Miles said that he told Glenn to tell the first responders to be careful and stay safe.
"The beams are wood in the sanctuary," Miles told the Seymour Tribune. "I said, 'Just make sure you tell them once it gets in the sanctuary, don't go in there. It could collapse at any minute. I don't want anybody hurt."
Miles has been ministering at the church since 1981. The church was built in 1975.
"When I came up, Sam said, 'Well, it's just a building,'" Miles said. "I said, 'Well, yeah, but you know what? This is all I've got.' One of the young men from my church was standing there, and he said, 'But you've got us.' It caught me. I've got great people. I thought, 'What's a building? We'll rebuild.' I've got great people, and they are already surrounding me."
The cause of the fire was not immediately clear but is under investigation, Densford told the newspaper.
Miles said that the church will have to be rebuilt and that was a sentiment echoed by Densford in his interview with WLKY.
"I would think they'll have to rebuild with the water damage inside the sanctuary," Densford said. "They might be able to salvage some stuff in there, but I really don't know."
Miles explained that there is a fellowship building behind the church that could be used for worship services as the church recovers from the tragedy. He added that other pastors in the area have offered to let the congregation use their buildings for services.
"It's heartbreaking on the outside because blood, sweat and tears have been in this. We just went through a remodeling process, and it was beautiful inside, so when you pull up, that overwhelms you," church member Tracie Kovener told the Seymour Tribune. "But this church was built by the saints back in the 1970s. They built it from the foundation up. There are a lot of memories because I grew up in this church."
"It's heart-wrenching, but we believe in God," she added. "We put our faith and trust in God is what the church is based on."