Fire destroys church in Wise County, leaving only a cross standing

A Wise County church that burned down Friday still plans to hold Sunday service. 

The Balsora Baptist Church was completely engulfed when crews arrived Friday afternoon. Fire officials said the sanctuary roof started to collapse when firefighters were inside. Several were treated on the scene.

The church is more than 100 years old. 

The structure is now gone, but as the smoke clears the sanctuary cross remains.

"To me that was a sign from God saying don’t worry, I’m still here and I’m going to lead you forward," Pastor Sonny Smith said. 

Pastor Smith says the church was rebuilding its fellowship hall. It was under construction, Friday, when he says workers left for lunch and came back to the fire damage. 

"We’re just kind of a small country church," he said. 

To hold service, Sunday, for its typical crowd of about 75 people, some nearby churches have offered their space, but pastor Smith says they’ll be meeting outside, near the remains of their building.

"Shed some tears together over what was, but also create some excitement for what God plans for us in the future," he said.

They say the church isn’t about the building, it’s the people. 

"Well, I can tell you what’s inside of our church family. It’s faith," the pastor said. 

This Sunday, they plan to rejoice. 

"God is good. In the good times and in the bad times you can always depend on him," Pastor Smith said.