First Christian Church Fire: One Year Later

Published 03/18 2014 07:50PM

Updated 03/18 2014 08:00PM

Members of an Owensboro church will remember the destruction of their house of worship. It was a year ago today that First Christian Church burned down after a lightning strike.

"That was a pretty bad night that night," says Bobby Austin, who lives across the street from the site of the fire. He used to hear First Christian Church from home

"I really enjoyed hearing the church bells every Sunday," he says. But not anymore.

"An empty lot and wind. That's about it," Austin adds.

A year later, very little stands at the corner of 7th and J.R. Miller Blvd. 

"I've been looking at that church for so long. It's actually kind of weird now," says Austin.

A sign, rocks, and a little foundation. All that's left after the fire leveled the church last March.

"The scope of the fire was really incredible. The heat of the blaze, the smell of it, the sights and sounds," says First Christian Pastor Jacob Caldwell. "I often look at it, and i still can't believe this happened."

Caldwell, a man of faith, is still in disbelief a year later.

"Certainly, on the day of that fire, we were in the valley of dry bones, and we wondered what hope was there, and we were really in a difficult place on that day," he says.

It left many asking why, what now, how to rebuild.

"I think everyone would like to see it done yesterday," Caldwell adds.

A year later, church members are laying the foundation for their own resurrection. They recently voted to rebuild on the old site.  Officials hope to start construction as soon as this fall.

"I've think that it's been really beneficial to the congregation to take some time, to really plan, to ask some good questions about what we need now versus what we had," says Caldwell.

It'll take time, but many hope to see the church, and hear those bells again.

"I have a feeling they're going to make it a lot, lot, lot nicer," says Austin.

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