Arson Blamed for Sand Springs Church Fire

Arson Blamed for Sand Springs Church Fire

Two minors face Arson charges tonight following a fire that destroyed the First Baptist Church of Sand Springs.
SAND SPRINGS, TX, (Local Big 2 News) - Two minors face arson charges. Authorities say they set fire to the First Baptist Church of Sand Springs Tuesday morning. The church building declared a total loss, and members say they're stunned to learn the fire may be intentional.

"Losing the church and the history behind it, you know it hurts as a church member," says Howard County Volunteer Fire Chief Tommy Sullivan.

Early Monday morning, Howard County Volunteer Fire Chief Tommy Sullivan fights to keep his own church from going up in smoke.

"We sent multiple hand line teams in, we knocked down the fire first, thought we had it, but the fire was a deep set fire, and moved into the attic," says Sullivan.

The fire proved too difficult to extinguish.

"In just a matter of minutes, we had to pull firefighters out because the heat was too hot and we was afraid of a collapse inside of the church," explains Sullivan.

Firefighters did save one powerful christian symbol.

"We brought out the piano and the cross to give us faith and god will tell us that you know, we'll be alright," he added.

"I was saved and baptized at this church about 30 years ago," says Churchgoer Sandy Samuels.

For Samuels, the church holds irreplaceable meaning.

"Our christian school was started here back in 1981 and it just has some really fond memories," describes Samuels.

The school moved down the road to Big Spring, but Samuels now leads a singing group.

"I had a group of young people who sang they were called the sweet spirits, and this is going to break their hearts that the church is gone," she explains.

After learning juvenile arsonists could be to blame, the fire becomes even more devastating.

"That hurts, to think that anybody would want to destroy something that belongs to god," describes Samuels.

But just like the sign says, members believe light will shine again soon.

"This group of people is tough, they'll come back and there will be a church again here someday, probably in the near future," says Samuels.

"This is just a building but the members make the church and we look forward to rebuilding and coming back stronger than ever," explains Sullivan.

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