Fire damages steeple at Memphis church - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Fire damages steeple at Memphis church

By Chip Washington - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Memphis firefighters responded to a blaze early Friday morning at Monumental Baptist Church.

The church, near the intersection of Taylor Street and South Parkway, is where civil rights leader the Reverend Samuel "Billy" Kyles currently preaches.

When fire crews arrived they could see flames coming from the steeple of the church.  Carlos Smith lives in the neighborhood.

"I happened to look out the door and saw three and four fire trucks back to back," Smith said. "I knew it had to be something serious."

When firefighters arrived at the scene, they could see flames coming from the steeple of the church. Thirty-nine emergency response personnel responded to the call.  According to fire officials, the probable cause was a lightning strike.

Church member Richard Williams says there was some damage, but that won't stop services.

"Lots of water damage," he said. "I'm assuming that we will not be able to hold Sunday service over there, but will be able to hold it in the old sanctuary."

Investigators said the church sustained fire, smoke and water damage, but it was minor.     

Williams says it won't matter to Rev. Kyles, he will be ready to preach.
 
"If its up to Reverend Kyles, we're going to hold it in the parking lot," he said. "There's nothing replacing Sunday morning service!"

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