Part of Washington County church collapses in rockslide

April 20, 2017 09:19 PM

TRUTHVILLE -- A concrete foundation, steel and wood, all twisted, broke off and went tumbling down along what used to be solid ground below.

"I came over and all of a sudden I'm going oh my goodness, what in the world just happened here," said Truthville Baptist Church Pastor Kevin Gebo.

The building was an addition to the Truthville Baptist Church in the North Granville Hamlet of Truthville in Washington County. It started to slip away on Monday.

"Just slowly watching it and hearing it, the building making all kinds of noise, crinkling noises and you're going, what do you do?" Pastor Gebo said.

Then the ground gave way, taking the building along and created a crater filled with debris about the size of a football field. Pastor Gebo said they're still trying to figure out how this happened. The church  has been in that spot for 233 years. The spot for the addition was said to be fine for construction.

"The engineers came in from Morton and approved it and said yes, this is a good spot for it," Gebo said.

The new addition was built in 2016 to serve the needs of the congregation and to bring together the youth and the older crowd for activities.

"The building was really to bring honor and glory to our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. That was the purpose," said Pastor Gebo.

It costs more than $250,000 to build, according to Pastor Gebo. They raised all the money through the small congregation. The main church building is fine. The new addition appears to be a total loss. The question is what happens now?

"Just seek and pray and come together as a congregation and pray about what's our next step. Where do we go from here," Pastor Gebo told Newschannel 13. "It's a building. It's not a precious soul. It's not a person. I'm so thankful truly there was nobody in there. When this is all taking place, (God) chose a time when we're on school vacation. Nobody is around here."

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Dan Bazile

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