Massive fire leaves extensive damage to Kannapolis church - | WBTV Charlotte

Massive fire leaves extensive damage to Kannapolis church

Ron Lee | WBTV Ron Lee | WBTV
Beaver | WBTV Beaver | WBTV
(Source: city of Kannapolis) (Source: city of Kannapolis)
KANNAPOLIS, NC (WBTV) -

Fire crews battled a 3-alarm fire at a Kannapolis church early Saturday morning.

The fire broke out around 5:40 a.m. at Grace Baptist Church on E. 11th Street. This is on the Rowan County side of Kannapolis.

The Salisbury and Concord Fire Departments assisted the Kannapolis Fire Department to control the fire. The fire was under control just after 7 a.m.

Massive flames and heavy smoke were seen coming out of the roof and part of the roof collapsed.

Kannapolis Fire Department Division Chief Kirk Beard says crews had to take a defensive approach for most of the morning, because of how quickly the flames spread.

"Older construction is not sprinklered, things like that. There was no kind of internal building protection," Beard said.

Gary Helton had been going to Grace Baptist for 70 years, even before the church moved to the building that caught fire. He got married there, and even rang the church's bell every Sunday. He says he's still in disbelief the church is destroyed.

"It's just hard to believe," Helton said. "I don't know, it's just amazing it was burning like it was."

There were no injuries. Officials have not released the cause of the fire, but do not believe it was intentionally set.

Helton says it's going to be tough to move forward from this.

"Have to. It's sad, but we're going to have church tomorrow," Helton said.

The estimated cost of damage is $850,000.

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