Crews investigating church fire in Emporia - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Crews investigating church fire in Emporia

Source: Facebook user Kyle Wells Source: Facebook user Kyle Wells
Source: Facebook user Kyle Wells Source: Facebook user Kyle Wells
Source: Facebook user Kyle Wells Source: Facebook user Kyle Wells
Source: Facebook user Kyle Wells Source: Facebook user Kyle Wells
EMPORIA, VA (WWBT) -

Multiple fire crews responded to the scene of a massive fire at Calvary Baptist Church in Emporia on Saturday. 

The fire broke out around 6 a.m. Saturday morning.  Fire crews from Emporia, Jarratt and Lawrenceville battled the blaze past noon. 

Part of the side wall was removed to save the sanctuary of the church.  Emotions ran high as members of the congregation gathered to watch as fire crews worked to save as much of the building as possible.

"Everybody that goes there is very much one big family and I know that we are not going to let this upset us too much," Teresa Wray-Welsh said.

Teresa Wray-Welsh has been a member of the church for nearly a decade.  Wray-Welsh is a writer for the "Independent Messenger" newspaper.  She recently wrote an article chronicling the history of the 108-year-old church. 

"It's a tragic blow.  This is one of the largest congregations, probably the largest congregation in the community," Emergency Services Coordinator Ken Ryals said.

The fire is believed to have started in an upstairs area near the back of the church.  Crews are still investigating the cause of the fire, but believe it may have been caused by a faulty electrical system. 

Wray-Welsh says the building will be rebuilt and continue its legacy that has spanned more than 100 years.

"I think it has impacted the whole community and I think the whole community is going to step up and be behind Calvary Baptist Church as we try to rebuild what was lost this morning," Welsh said.

Wray-Welsh says this won't stop their worship.  Services are expected to take place Sunday at Veterans Memorial Park behind the post office.

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