Church members vow to rebuild church damaged in fire

Interior view of the significantly damaged sanctuary inside Bethany Rembrandt Church. (Photo: IFD)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – Churchgoers witnessed their second home go up in flames during a Sunday school class, but thankfully no one was hurt.

"This is my second home here. I spend a lot of time here," said Pastor Eric Floyd, digging through the rubble of that second home, Bethany Rembrandt Church, Sunday afternoon. "It just proves, we have no control over anything in life. We came here today expecting to have a nice crowd for family and friends. It didn't happen," Floyd explained.

Instead, about 20 people were inside the church sanctuary around 10 a.m. Sunday morning when they spotted smoke coming out of the vents.

Members thought it might be connected to the furnace that they'd turned on the night before.

"I thought maybe it was something burning off the elements for the first time," said church member Ryan Jeter.

When the smoke got thicker though, they got everyone outside.

"Within five minutes the entire roof was on fire," Jeter said.

"It just happened so fast," added Pastor Floyd.

"It's a lot like watching your own house go down. From seeing it start in one area and watching the flames go through the entire roof line and then eventually everything's on fire," Jeter added.

According to Pastor Floyd, fire officials have told him they believe the cause of the fire is likely electrical.

Church members hope to hold services in the side of the building that was untouched except for some smoke and water damage.

Parishioners say they're not worried, explaining the church is not just about a building, but the people in it.

"We can be the phoenix that rises out of the ashes," said Pastor Floyd.

"Faith is really going to be the only thing that keeps us encouraged," said Jeter.

"This just happened to be in God's plan. I believe it's in his plan," said Pastor Floyd.

The church was built in 1981 and the building was originally established as the Greater New Hope Church. Fire officials estimate $100,000 worth of damage.

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