MARION, IL (KFVS) - The Illinois State Fire Marshal will determine what caused a Marion church to catch fire Thursday morning.
Fire officials say it's standard procedure to call in state investigators when a church or government building catches fire.
Crews responded to the fire at the Good Fight of Faith Church in Marion at 2:46 a.m. Thursday.
When fire crews arrived, there smoke was coming from eves and Marion's fire chief says it appears the fire may have started in the attic.
"At this time we don't feel there's any indication that the fire is suspicious in origin at all," said Marion Fire Chief Jack Reed. "All the doors were secure. We're pretty confident it had been burning a significant amount of time before the fire department arrival."
As investigators sift through the rubble to find the cause, current and former congregation members mourn the loss of a building that's helped make countless memories over the years, both as the Good Fight of Faith Church and formerly, the West Boulevard Missionary Baptist Church.
"Been a lot of years of history with Good Fight of Faith and before," said Deacon Myron Evrard of Good Fight of Faith Church.
"It was more than just a building with that building goes many precious memories," said Nancy Medvick of St. Louis, a former member of the West Boulevard Missionary Baptist Church. "I was baptized there as a young girl during revival services. Those types of memories you just don't forget."
Mavis Davis of Marion remembers walking down the aisle in the now gutted church. The fire caused the roof to collapse - destroying the sanctuary that's held so many memorable events.
"The church may be gone - the memories seemingly burned, but they're still with us," said Davis, a former member of the West Boulevard Missionary Baptist Church. "The one thing that stands out to me is the truth that was taught here. You never lose that."
The current congregation has lost even more than memories. The future of the building remains uncertain. Church leaders say whether they re-build or relocate, one thing's for sure: the good fight church will go on.
"It hit us pretty hard, but we're standing strong," said Deacon Evrard. "We ain't defeated by no means."