Historic Earle Church Destroyed by Fire

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(Earle, AR) Just as a congregation gets ready to celebrate Christmas it loses a place to worship.

The steps leading up to the Holy Temple Church in Earle, Arkansas have seen a lot of history.

For over a hundred years people have walked up them to worship, but now at the end of that staircase is the charred remains of the building

As the Earle Fire Department puts out the flames people who live in the town say losing Holy Temple Church is a big blow for the entire area because it fed hundreds of children each summer and every day after school.

“Anytime you lose anything for the youth in the community it’s tragic because there not a lot for kids to do in small towns like this anymore, and that was a good gathering place for the kids,” said Earle Police officer Ken Culbreth.

Culbreth says the entire town lost power early Saturday morning, and when it came back on Holy Temple ignited.

Luckily no one was inside or hurt by the blaze.

“Oh there was just so much black smoke just rolling, and it scared me!” said Bessie McKenzie.

McKenzie lives just a few feet from the scorching flames.

“It was real scary, and you’re just waking up and people are on your door bell, and it was just real scary to me. First time I’ve seen anything like that,” said McKenzie.

Around 75 people go to Holy Temple, and the building use to be home to the First Presbyterian Church of Earle.

The church’s pastor Willie Frank says he’s trying to figure things out and doesn’t have any immediate plans for what’s next.

The church does have insurance.

The fire is still under investigation but most people here in Earle seem to think a power surge is to blame.