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Fire damages historic Fayetteville church

Posted March 24, 2015
Updated March 25, 2015

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— A historic downtown Fayetteville church was damaged by fire Tuesday evening.

Firefighters were dispatched to Saint Joseph’s Episcopal Church, 104 Moore Street, at about 6:46 p.m. Smoke and fire was billowing from the building, built in 1896, when firefighters arrived, officials said.

No injuries were reported.

The fire started near a side entrance, went up a gazebo and through a wall and the attic.

"Naturally there is some damage and there will have to be some repairs made but overall I think the church can be repaired back to a usable state," said Fayetteville Assistant Fire Chief Richard Bradshaw, who added that up to 85 percent of the church was not damaged. "And a little bit of love and a little bit of care I think it'll be right back good as ever."

The sanctuary sustained water and smoke damage, church members said.

“God was fortunate and has really blessed us by giving us our building, our walls,” said Samuel Lloyd, a junior warden at the church. “Our walls, we still have them. The rest can be rebuilt and we intend to put it back the way it was.”

It was not immediately known what caused the fire, but Pastor Teddra Smith said she found cigarette butts and cooking cans on the porch last week. She believes homeless people were cooking and trying to stay warm.

"From what I understand, the person who started it called 911," Smith said. "I think he tried to put it out and couldn't, so he called 911, and when the fire trucks came, he just left."

Smith said the fire has caused an interest in her church doing more for the homeless.

Ramsey Street between Grove and Cumberland streets was closed as firefighters put out and investigate the blaze.


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