A south Dade county congregation is coming together after their church went up in flames early Sunday morning. The church had been in the community for over 50 years.
The fire happened at the Rising Fawn Church of Christ. Despite the tragedy, the head preacher and church members say they're remaining positive.
You would usually find Jim Shadwick preaching in front of his congregation every Sunday morning. But, Sunday, he told us things were very different. He lives next door to his church. He says he woke up early Sunday morning after hearing a loud explosion.
"I had already gone to bed. I got up and saw the church building on fire," says head preacher Jim Shadwick.
Shadwick had just taken over as head preacher in March. Now, nearly everything is gone.
"We're all thankful that no one was hurt and things like that can be replaced," says Shadwick.
Shadwick says one of the church members turned the heat on Friday morning just to see if it works. He says that's what likely caused the explosion which came from the back of the church.
"That had something to do with it evidently because we hadn't used it to just recently when it turned kind of cold," says Shadwick.
Rick Breeden has been a member at the church for 30 years. He can't believe the building - his place of worship - is gone.
"Some of the members have been here since it was built, and it was hard for them," says Rick Breeden.
Brenda McMahan lives across from the church and says she's thankful that things were not worse.
"Thank God it happened at 1:00 last night instead of this morning when they were at church. Nobody was hurt," says Brenda McMahan.
The head preacher says through it all, he’s remaining positive.
"We're just going to try to do what we can. Just try to keep on keeping on," says Shadwick.
The head preacher tells us he's having a meeting soon to discuss plans to rebuild. For now, he and his church members plan to visit nearby churches.
By Jerry Askin