WISE COUNTY, Texas — A cross was all that remained of Balsora Baptist Church in Bridgeport, Texas, after a fire swept through the building Friday, leading to a response from a dozen area agencies.
“The cross reminds us all to stand tall!” the Lake Bridgeport Volunteer Fire Department wrote on its page. “It remains standing in all of its glory, while its background is nothing but ash and debris. Simple reminder of how precious life is and how quickly it can turn.”
The roof began to collapse while firefighters were still inside, and several firefighters were treated at the scene. Extreme temperatures taxed resources and available manpower, the department said. There were no other injuries reported, according to the fire department, and no one was inside when crews entered the church.
The only items that survived? Stacks of charred bibles and a cross.
“That cross is where we would get little pieces of paper with a string and everyone put all their family members and different ones they wanted to pray for and we hung them up on that cross,” said Smith.
“It’s an absolute miracle that that cross made it through the fire when nothing else did.”
Smith said his congregation will meet at the church by the three crosses Sunday morning to pray and sing.
The church was declared a complete loss.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Balsora Baptist Church Pastor Sonny Smith. “We know God is going to bring good out of it. He always does. It’s no surprise to him what happened.”
“We’ll be OK. We have insurance,” Smith said. “God will help us. Instead of just doing the fellowship hall, we’ll do the whole church.”