Historic Arkansas Church Catches Fire

HARRISON, AR -- Eagle Heights Baptist Church caught fire after a minor crashed into a utility pole under while driving under the influence.

Harrison Battalion Chief Jim Creager and his team did not realize came upon something much worse than they expected when responding to what they thought was just a car accident.

"We were called out to a motor vehicle accident. The vehicle had struck a power pole," Creager says. "That power pole immediately fell and struck the corner of the church right here and caught the church on fire. It took a few minutes to regroup and get the fire apparatus on the way for fire suppression."

Chief Creager says the weather conditions played a large part in the spread of the fire.

"With the wind the direction it was going it blew the fire into the church, and you can see the results," he explains.  

The driver, who is a minor, struck the building was under the influence at the time of the collision.

The oldest part of the church suffered the loss. It was constructed in 1946 according to Kenny Stacy, the pastor at Eagle Heights Baptist.

"All of our storage buildings and storage rooms and then we had two administrative offices that were in this building that got destroyed as well," Stacy says.  

He says the members of the church will rally around one another to get through this disaster.

"We are going to gather together as people," Stacy hopes. "You know, a church isn't the building. It is the people. So we are still going to be the church here at Eagle Heights Baptist."

Despite about 40% of the structure being destroyed, church activities will still take place. Stacy expects the community to rebound in a big way.

"We are going to meet tomorrow morning at 10:30, we are going to come together for a time of worship and reflection. This is a tragedy, but we are going to see great hope that comes out of it for this community."

The minor who crashed into the pole suffered minor injuries, and has been charged with driving while intoxicated.


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