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Pastor speaks out following Saturday’s church fire

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 6:28 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Church members at the Lake Charles First Church of Nazarene continue picking up the pieces this morning after the church caught fire over the weekend.

“Saturday morning about 3:30, I received a call from the neighbor at the church, the lady telling me that the church was on fire.”

That was the moment Pastor John Hoffpauir learned about the fire in the church he has been serving as a pastor in since 2014, a moment he says was disheartening.

“My wife and I immediately jumped out of bed and drove over here, we don’t live that far from the church.”

Flash forward to Monday morning: charred wood and hanging debris was just some of what I could see in one part of the building.

“Most of the fire was in this wing on this end and in the foyer and fellowship hall area,” he said. “Very little fire in the sanctuary however it does have extensive smoke and water damage.”

He said they were just about six weeks from moving back in after hurricane renovations.

“It was just really looking beautiful, and it was just hard to keep from crying to know that all the work that had been put into it was now gone.”

As for the future of the church, he says it is still up in the air.

“We will rebuild,” he said. “Of course, we don’t know what, where, and when until the fire investigator completes his work and the structural engineers make their assessment of what we can rebuild and what will have to be torn down and rebuild. We’ll just have to wait and see what that is.”

Hoffpauir said they have had an outpouring of support not only from Lake Charles but from friends and church connections across the country.

The fire remains under investigation.

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