January 11, 2017–Pulaski, Va.–A devastating fire destroyed the Pulaski Church of God in Pulaski, Virginia overnight.
Fire crews were still on the scene early this morning extinguishing the flames which could be seen surging through the sanctuary from the fire which was discovered around 11:00 p.m. last night.
Local television station WDBJ reporter Kimberly McBroom was reporting live from the scene early this morning describing the church as, “very much an important part of this community…this is devastating…there have been countless funerals, weddings, all kinds of gatherings here…even the fire marshal himself got married in this church.” The coverage cut to an interview with that fire marshal who said, “I’ve got a lot of memories here. My mom is still a member. I’ve got a lot of family and friends that attend here. It’s tough!” Flames could still be seen shooting out from the building in the background.
“It’s more than just a church, it’s the center of this community,” McBroom stated.
Pastor of the Pulaski Church of God, Travis Gore, received a call about smoke coming from the building around 11:00 p.m. and rushed to the scene.
“When I got off the exit I could see the orange blaze in the sky,” Gore told WDBJ. “But I had this overwhelming sense of peace that only comes from the Lord that He’s gonna help us and gives us grace moving forward.”
A second WDBJ reporter on the scene, Christian Heilman, reported the fire was so large that fire companies from several towns and counties were dispatched to fight the blaze. He said the metal roof had collapsed, hampering the firefighter’s efforts to extinguish the blaze.
As of early afternoon investigators were all over the site assessing the cause of the fire. According to Virginia State Administrative Bishop Joe Mirkovich, the old sanctuary, new sanctuary, classrooms and office space were a total loss, but the gymnasium and family life center were spared.
“I can’t say enough about the work of the firefighters; they were phenomenal,” Mirkovich stated. “They concentrated on making sure the connecting sidewalks did not spread to those two buildings and therefore they are untouched.” Mirkovich was on the scene in the early morning hours and was working with the church staff and investigators into the afternoon.
“Pulaski Church of God is so well respected and this community has already rallied around it,” Mirkovich said. “This is a very sobering site, but if I can say one thing, the way the residents of Pulaski are stepping up, it is truly exemplary.”
“Somehow we’re going to gather on this property [Wednesday] night at 7 o’clock and we’re going to give praise to God for his grace,” Pastor Gore stated. “And then we’re just going to join together as a family.”