Fire destroys historic Sneedville church

(WBIR-Sneedville) A fire destroyed a historic church in Sneedville on Monday morning.

It happened at Briar Creek Baptist Church around 8 a.m. The building is a total loss.

According to Pastor Joe Davis, the fire started in the ladies restroom. Firefighters suspect it was caused by electric wall heaters in the bathroom but it is still under investigation.

"Just heartbroken, just heartbroken, knowing that you've got so many memories here," Pastor Davis said. "This church, these are my family."

Within the past year, Davis said they spent at least $60,000 on renovations, including new carpet, a new roof and stained glass windows.

Davis said one of the deacons at the church (also the town's fire chief) was able to rescue the church records.

"It really broke my heart that we won't be back here together but as I said, we will rebuild and we'll be stronger than we were before," he said.

Church services will be held temporarily at Seal Mathis Community Center in Sneedville. Other area churches have also offered to help.

According to Davis, Briar Creek Baptist Church does have insurance, but it will not cover all the expenses needed to rebuild.

They have about $125,000 in insurance for the building, and $25,000 for the contents inside. About $45,000 of that money will go to pay off their remodeling loans from the past year.

Those who would like to help, can give donations through Civis Bank in Sneedville.

Briar Creek Baptist Church was established in 1894.


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