Fire officials investigating after massive flames gut North Carolina church

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STATESVILLE, N.C. — Investigators are probing into the cause of a massive fire that destroyed a Statesville church late Sunday night.

Dozens of firefighters responded to the Old Western Avenue Baptist Church around 11:30 p.m. after the security company said someone had come into the building.

"I got a call from the security company that someone had come in one of the side doors, and by the time my wife and I got here we saw the building in flames," said Pastor James Hunter.

According to fire officials, no one was found inside the building, but the pastor said they've had a problem with squatters in the past and tried to better secure the building.

"It's a loss to the city. Sad to see this happen," said Statesville Fire Chief Spencer Lee.

Fire officials deemed the church a total loss, but the pastor said he is staying optimistic.

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