Stokesdale church damaged in fire [Video]

STOKESDALE, N.C. — A church in Stokesdale was destroyed in a fire late Saturday night.

More than 75 firefighters responded to Gideon Grove United Methodist Church shortly after 11 p.m. Saturday night.

Flames could be seen shooting through the roof shortly before 11:30 p.m.

The church is located near the Rockingham County border.

“It’s hard to lose a church any time of the year but especially close to Christmas,” said Firefighter Tyler McGee.

No injuries were reported. Officials say the cause of the fire remains under investigation, but it appears “suspicious.”

Church member Mahalia McGee says she has a lot of memories of the church.

“My daughter is the organist and choir director here,” she said. “My grandchildren were Christened here.”

The fire torched the sanctuary, rows of pews are now in pieces and stained glass is shattered everywhere.

Services for the church will be held at the Palestine Methodist Church on Ellisboro Road in the meantime.

“The church is just a building,” Mahalia McGee said. “The people are the church.”

Video credit: Jerry Long (YouTube)

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