Cullman firefighters respond to church fire on Higway 69

CULLMAN, Ala. (WIAT) — A fire broke out around 7 a.m. at Simcoe Worship Center on Highway 69 in Cullman.

Berlin Fire and Rescue, Gold Ridge Fire Department and Fairview Fire and Rescue responded to the scene. High winds made it difficult for first responders to get the flames under control.

Several church members stood and watched as firefighters tried to fight the fire.

“It’s like losing part of your family, it’s like seeing your own house. I thought that it was going to be bad but I didn’t know it was going to be that bad but when I turned onto 69 and I could see the smoke from miles away I knew that it was lost. I knew it was gone,” church member Chris Chambers said.

The head deacon of Simcoe Worship Center said he arrived on the scene this morning to pick up his Bible, which he had left behind during Sunday’s services. When he got there, he smelled smoke and saw fire in the building, and immediately called it in.

The Children’s and Youth Worship Centers were destroyed during the fire. The Youth Group had worked all day Saturday, painting and working to improve the building.

“We had just started renovations, major renovations this past Saturday. We had just finished and spent all day Saturday so it’s kind of a little disheartening at first,” church member Chelsea Truett said.

The sanctuary did have a lot of smoke damage, so the congregation will have to find somewhere else to worship for a while. The pastor at Simcoe Worship Center says several nearby churches have offered up their buildings already.

Copyright 2016 WIAT CBS 42

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