There will be an investigation to determine the exact cause of the fire, however, Fire Chief Bill Dunn says it looks like the building may have been struck by lightning.
Firefighters were called to 601 W. Wells St. a little after 4 a.m. Thursday. When first responders arrived, they found the front end of the church up in flames. Crews from Joplin, Oronogo, and Carl Junction responded to the call.
Chief Dunn says seeing flames consume the church was difficult for him to watch on several levels.
"I go to church here and I'm the head trustee," he says. "I mean, I've got a lot to think about the next few days. So yes, it's going to be a total rebuild."
This is the second time the church has been destroyed by a natural disaster. A tornado struck Carl Junction in 2003, leaving congregation members without a permanent facility for two years.
Church leaders say there will be a worship service this Sunday, but they haven't decided where it will be held.
(courtesy KODE, Joplin)
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