SPRINGFIELD, Fla. - A church that has been a sanctuary for the Springfield community is now just walls and smoldering ash.
"I got a call saying the church is on fire, and I thought they were talking about the holy spirit and the gospel and then all of a sudden the texts started coming in," Pastor Seven Grogan, Springfield United Methodist Church, said.
The first call went to Springfield firefighters shortly before 9:00 p.m. The department along with Bay County, Panama City, and Callaway crews responded to the church at 701 School Avenue to find the building engulfed in flames.
"This is, never in my wildest dreams. I was completely, wildest nightmares. I was just like, 'Oh my, Lord in Heaven,' and I just started praying and I was just so overwhelmed with 'this is crazy," Grogan said as he struggled to find words.
Grogan and a crowd gathered at the scene, but onlookers could only watch as the fire ripped through the church. Grogan said the sanctuary, church offices, and prayer rooms which were added to the church in the 1980's were all destroyed.
Crews tried to prevent the flames from spreading to the original building, but so far it appears the fire was unforgiving.
"I say it all the time, but God is a God of miracles, and he's in the miracle business. This is going be awesome because it's going to turn tragedy into triumph. I know that's true," Grogan said.
The church is known for it's Mission House, which feeds 80 to 90 families every week. Grogan said the church plans to continue its food mission and church services this week.
Multiple fire departments are working to put out a fire at the Springfield United Methodist Church. The crews were called to 701 School Avenue shortly before 9:00 p.m. Sunday.
"It's absolutely insane. We just need prayer," Pastor Seven Grogan said.
Grogan told News 13 the sanctuary, church offices, and prayer room which are part of a building addition to the original church have been completely destroyed.
As of 10:00 p.m., firefighters were working to contain the flames to prevent damage to the original structure but the fire was quickly spreading.
"We're still going to be here on Tuesday to feed families, be here next Sunday and worship in another building, nothing is going to stop us. We're going to turn tragedy into triumph and we know that," Grogan said.
News 13 will continue to provide updates here as they are made available.
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