80-Year-Old Church Burns Down in Bassett

Bassett, VA - It stood for 80 years in the Bassett community, but now the original Fort Trial Baptist Church is a total loss.

The blaze started in a house next door Wednesday morning, but when crews arrived, it had spread to the church and a nearby garage.

A new church group just started meeting there a year ago, and they were renting the space with hopes to one day own it. Now, they're left with no place to go.

"Oh we was just devastated. Not thinking that something like this would ever happen, which nobody does," said Fredericka Tinsley, a church member.

Tinsley is a member of Truth and Faithful Gospel Church. The congregation had only been here a short time but it already felt like home.

"This is the place where we always come and we can't come here no more, you know what I mean? It's hard," she said.

Now their beloved church and a former parsonage located next door - has been destroyed. Fire Marshal Pete Draper says the cause of the fire is still unknown.

"It's too early in the investigation. We haven't made any kind of assumptions whatsoever," said Draper.

Draper says the call came in around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday that the church - which stood for more than 80 years - was engulfed in flames.

The news was equally devastating for Jesse Cahill who was a member of the original church that formed here and remains as one of the building's trustees. He says all that's left are memories of the once beautiful building.

"It's not a good feeling. It's a great loss to the people who were in it now and a great loss to all the people who did attend it back then," said Cahill.

Now, Tinsley says she and her fellow church members are willing to do whatever it takes to find a new church home.

"Nothing is going to stop us because we know God got us, but it's just a point of we've got to really put that foot forward now and do what we have to do in order to make it."

Tinsley says the pastor is currently trying to find a new building. The church is accepting donations through the Martinsville branch of BB&T as they go through that process.

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