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Pastor Escapes Massive Church Fire While Prepping for Church Service

Photo via WCSC.

Pastor John H. Hill is safe after a Summerville, South Carolina, firefighter warned him that his First Emmanuel Baptist Church was on fire. On June 15, a massive fire broke out while Hill was inside preparing for the church’s Wednesday night spaghetti dinner.

“I heard whamming on the door. There’s a guy trying to get my attention,” Hill told a local news outlet, referring to the firefighter attempting to evacuate the building. “I had no idea it was on fire.”

Firefighters were quick to put out the fire, but not before it did extensive damage to the building and it’s roof. An investigation is currently underway as the Dorchester County Fire Department attempts to determine the cause of the fire.

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In the aftermath of the fire, local area pastors contacted Hill offering their support and use of their facilities. Hill explained that “these things, you look at it as a tragedy—and it is. But if it will bring a community together, I’m good with that. And it’s a matter of having faith. Who do you trust in? Do you trust in man, or do you trust in God? And we choose to trust God.”

Hill said, “God is in control. We think sometimes He’s only in control when things are going well, but He’s in control when things are going badly.”

“If you come to our church and you run out without at least one or two people giving you a hug, you ran out too fast,” Hill said, extending an invitation to anyone in the community.

With lots of prayer and work, Hill has faith the church will rebuild. The rebuilding process will be emotional, as First Emmanuel Baptist Church will celebrate its 85th anniversary this October.

Local pastor Rodd Hibbard said that losing things in a fire is very difficult and shared that he knows how Hill is feeling, having experienced a house fire a few years back. “It’s very difficult. I’m very thankful that nobody was injured,” Hibbard said.

“Just knowing the emotional…and especially with the church, something you’re tied to so closely, to the people at that church and what they’re going on, especially Pastor John, I just want to make sure that we are here to pray for them and to support them in any way that we can,” Hibbard said.

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Hibbard told the local news that “the church isn’t a building; it’s a family. It’s a body of believers that meet together and immediately try to figure out what can we do to make sure that they can still come together as a family.”

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Jesse is the Content Editor for ChurchLeaders and Site Manager for ChristianNewsNow. An undeserving husband to a beautiful wife, and a father to 4 beautiful children. He serves as a deacon, a growth group leader, and is a member of University Baptist Church in Beavercreek, Ohio. Follow him on twitter here (https://twitter.com/jessetjackson). Accredited member of the Evangelical Press Association.