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“It’s something that can teach you how to grow”: Local church healing after devastating fire

The church says no one was in the building when the fire occurred, and no injuries were reported.
The church says no one was in the building when the fire occurred, and no injuries were reported.(WCTV)
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 8:36 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -An investigation is underway to find out what caused a fire to destroy Unity of Tallahassee Church.

The church says no one was in the building when the fire occurred, and no injuries were reported.

It was an emotional morning for members of the church congregation.

The Tallahassee Fire Department received a call shortly before 7:00am Tuesday.

When Reverend Bill Williams arrived around 8:30am he says the flames had already subsided.

Williams has lead the church for more than two decades. Despite many memories made within the church walls, he says the community will move forward.

On Tuesday crews began cleaning up the destruction inside the church. The roof is gone, and many of the inside walls are in pieces.

Neighbor Dennis Jesspon remembers being alerted to the fire by a woman driving by spotted the flames from the road.

“About 6:15 is when she was knocking on our door, and it was totally engulfed,” Jesspon said.

What caused the sparks is still under investigation.

Williams says all they can do now is move forward

“Life is full of changes. Events will occur and that’s apart of what we teach here, how to meet the events that come with life and use them as life lessons,” Williams said. “Rather than something that devastates you, it’s something that can teach you how to grow and learn and know what to do next.”

Williams said he’s not sure that will be the next step, but he knows the community will come together.

“Think good thoughts and pray for us,” Williams said.

Reverend Williams says the community still needs to talk about how they want to move forward and their next step to rebuild. But at the end of the day, he says the church is just a building, and the real church is within the community.

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