• 57°

Investigators say lightning strike may have caused church fire

By Shavonne Potts

shavonne.potts@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Fire investigators say a three-alarm fire at the First Baptist Church Ministry Center was possibly caused by a lightning strike after witnesses reported on Thursday morning seeing lights flicker beforehand.

The building, known as the “old YMCA,” is located across from First Baptist Church on North Fulton Street. It housed several ministries and organizations, including the SOAR program, which helps adults with intellectual disabilities, and the Good Shepherd’s Clinic.

No one was inside the building at the time of the fire, said Associate Pastor Brian Farmer. But Farmer said a witness heard a boom of thunder right before the fire.

Salisbury Fire Marshal Terry Smith said the fire was accidental due to a power surge in the area, likely lightning, which struck an electrical outlet on a wall. The fire originated and was contained to an attic area of the building. There was smoke and water damage throughout the rest of the building.

Farmer stood outside under an umbrella until firefighters gave the all-clear to approach the building.

“This building is a tool for ministry. God does a ton of great things through it,” Farmer said. “We’ve been blessed with good space here and it’s used quite a bit. This is going to be an inconvenience and we’ll have to rebuild it but the ministry is not going to stop. It’s my hope that this building, what’s not been damaged by the fire, will be back up and running soon,” Farmer said.

Salisbury firefighters could be seen breaking windows and creating a hole in the roof to vent the building. Smoke billowed from the attic area.

The church posted a message on its Facebook page shortly after the fire that said, “The fire seems to have started in attic, but no official determination has been made yet. No one was in the building, and our awesome fire department was able to contain and extinguish the fire quickly. We are grateful God had someone in place who saw the smoke and reported the fire immediately.”

Firefighters respond to this fire at the First Baptist Church Ministry Center at North Fulton Street. The fire was contained to the building and is believed to have started in the attic area. Shavonne Potts/Salisbury Post

The Salisbury Police Department also provided assistance at the scene. Kannapolis Fire Department personnel also assisted so that all of the responders could focus their efforts on the fire, Smith said.

Comments

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras

Education

Educators reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week

Education

Livingstone College wins $30,000 Home Depot grant

Education

Shoutouts

News

Shield-A-Badge With Prayer program enters 26th year, accepting volunteers to pair with officers

Education

COVID-19 infection, quarantine numbers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools reach new highs

High School

High school football: Offensive line came together for Hornets, who play for state title tonight

Local

Pro baseball: White makes pro debut and says, ‘It felt amazing to be out there’

Education

West Rowan Middle eighth grader wins investment writing contest

Local

YSUP Rowan invites agencies to participate in youth-focused training