Over 70 firefighters work together to put out Kannapolis church fire

- Community members in Kannapolis are heartbroken after Grace Baptist Church along East 11th St. went up into massive flames around 5:40 a.m on Saturday. 

"This has been our life. This has been our home. It's sad. It breaks my heart. I don't want to cry but I can't help it. This is a loving church. People love each other. It's amazing what we've had at this church all these years," long-time Grace Baptist Church member "Pinky" Helton said.

The fire could be seen coming from the rear of the church. 

Around 75 firefighters with the Kannapolis Fire Department and surrounding fire departments spent their morning battling the 3-alarm church fire. Firefighters needed over an hour to put out the blaze. 

Because of the nature of the fire, crews had to stay outside to control the smoke and flames, according to Kirk Beard, division chief for the Kannapolis FD. 

"It's like home burning down. I've been here for so long. I quit for a while but then I came back when me and my wife got married. We got married here," long-time Grace Baptist Church member Gary Helton said.

"It's devastating. I feel numb right now. I feel like I've lost a loved one," long-time Grace Baptist Church member Doug Sloop said.

Thankfully no injuries were reported. 

The Rowan County, Cabarrus County and Kannapolis Fire Marshals are all now investigating the cause. They do say the fire has been ruled as accidental. As for now, firefighters are not able to get inside to do any investigative work. They hope to start repairs sometime next week. 

The church is currently in a condition that is unsafe for members to go in and worship. Fire Marshals from Cabarrus, Rowan and Kannapolis are concerned for their safety and plan to block certain areas that were ruined by the fire. 

Grace Baptist has been providing religious services for 75 years. The construction of the church began in 1957. 

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