Fire Destroys Heartland Church

Fire Destroys Heartland Church
By: Arnold Wyrick

(Du Quoin, IL)--An inferno roared through the First Pentecostal Church in Du Quoin shortly after one o'clock Thursday.

Firefighters fought the blaze for a couple of hours but lost their battle and backed away to let the fire burn itself out. They were unable to save a church that has been a part of the Du Quoin community for more than 60 years.

Dan McKinnies, the church's junior pastor, was one of the first to arrive. He put safety aside and rushed into the burning church to save items in his father's office. "I was able to get his bible that he's used no telling how many years. And some of his other things that really mattered to him," says McKinnies.

Members of the church could only stand by and watch as their house of worship went up in flames, many of them turned to one another for comfort. "I've been praying for unity and this is going to bring our church together," says Karla McKinnies. "We're going to have services somewhere on Sunday, that's for sure."

Investigators don't know what caused the fire to ignite, but they did say it started near a furnace in the middle of the building in a classroom.

C.L. McKinnies Senior Pastor of the church gathered the congregation under their outdoor pavilion to pray for guidance in rebuilding their church as the sun set. " There's a lot of sentimental items, there's a lot of things gone that only I and God know about. But the Lord is in control and that's why I can stand up here and raise my voice in praise to him," says McKinnies as he gripped the charred podium pulled from the burning church. And his congregation joined him in song and prayer.