Fire destroys church after lightning strike

By Russell Hood The Webster Progress-Times

Officials say a lightning strike caused a fire that destroyed a Eupora church early Saturday.

Eupora Fire Chief Richard Love said flames had already burned through the roof when city volunteers responded to the blaze at Victory Full Gospel Baptist Church, 31 Tank Hill Road.

Webster 911 paged out firefight24ers at 4:03 a.m. Saturday and the Eupora Volunteer Fire Department was first on scene at 4:11 a.m. The Walthall Volunteer Fire Department was immediately called for backup.

“We made entry through the rear of the structure but the fire spread rapidly once it breached the foyer wall into the sanctuary,” Love said. “We were on scene for about three hours fighting the fire and performing salvage and overhaul.”

He added, “It was determined that the cause of the fire was due to a lightning strike in the storm that rolled through the area early that morning and the building was a total loss.”

No other structures were involved and no one was injured. North Mississippi Medical Center-Eupora EMS also responded, according to 911 reports.

Church Plans To Rebuild The Rev. Johnny Burt Richardson, pastor, said the 15-year-old church lost everything in the fire, including clothes stored there for the upcoming Paul “Buddy” Hill Day.

This is a community picnic held every Labor Day in honor of Hill, who donated land for the church. Richardson said the church gives away clothes to those in need not only on that day but any time for people who need them.

The church does plan to rebuild in the same location or possibly another, according to Richardson. He said the congregation met Sunday at St. Luke Full Gospel Baptist Church in Ackerman.

Anyone wanting to make donations may mail them to Victory Full Gospel Baptist Church, P.O. Box 2782, Columbus, MS 39704-2782.

Richardson may be contacted at (662) 251-9392 for more information.