Fire guts Irving's Bear Creek Community Church

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Services will go on at the Bear Creek Community Church in Irving even though an early morning fire destroyed the sanctuary.

Smoke and flames were visible above the church on Finley Road near Country Club Road around 6 a.m. Thursday.

The flames engulfed the sanctuary and made the building unstable. Firefighters had to battle it from the outside.

Pastor Dennis Webb, who is also an Irving city councilman, started the church in his living room 21 years ago. As a former Grand Prairie firefighter, he now finds himself on the other side.

"I kind of teared up a bit as I was watching," he said. "I watched a lot of other people stand outside their street and watch their homes go up in flames. And then you've got the mechanical mindset firemen do -- we go to work. But when it's you, you feel it. And I felt it this morning."

The church is known for its outreach. In the winter months, they house the homeless. About 12 homeless people were spending the night in the church when it caught fire, but everyone made it out safely.

The church sanctuary may be destroyed, but their spirit is not. Pastor Webb is already looking forward to Sunday's sermon.

“Wherever we meet on Sunday, we will rejoice the way we always do and praise God for his goodness," he said. "It may take a little while, but we will rebuild and continue to serve him."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.