CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The Abundant Faith Church caught fire in Conway Sunday evening and is now considered a total loss.
Assistant Chief Jeremy Carter with the Conway Fire Department said it was a three-alarm fire at Fourth Avenue and Lewis Street. The initial 911 call came in at 5:15 and firefighters from CFD, Myrtle Beach Fire and Horry County Fire Rescue fought the flames for more than an hour.
Because the building collapsed, firefighters sprayed water from the outside, rotating personnel due to the heat. Carter said the church has been in Conway for a long time.
Jason Cook was the pastor at this church for five years before the congregation became too large and moved to another building. When the congregation left, the building was sold and became Abundant Faith Church in 2011. Cook says the memories in the building go back generations.
"So for a lot of us this is a heartbreaking thing, my wife was baptized here. This was the first church I ever pastored, so it has a heartbreaking sense. The pastor that preceded me was here 24 and a half years, Brother Dudley Parnell. So just to walk up and see something that you have so many good memories in, so many marriages, and baptisms, and even funerals, it's very heartbreaking. It's a hard thing to see." said Cook.
Cook says the building was first erected in 1947, and while it's loss will impact the community, staying positive is what the church was all about.
"The memories will always be in the hearts of the people that have walked away blessed and have walked away changed and saved, and all of the things that the church strives to do. So it's very disheartening and discouraging, but the biggest thing is nobody is hurt, and everyone is walking away and going home safe tonight."
There were no injuries reported and the cause is unknown.
The State Law Enforcement Division confirmed that SLED investigators were on scene Monday, but said it is routine for SLED to be called to assist local authorities to determine the cause of a fire.