Fire officials investigate Fourth of July church fire in Brazos County

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 8:29 AM CDT
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BRAZOS COUNTY, Texas (KBTX) - Local firefighters spent early Sunday morning putting out a massive fire at Southern Oaks Baptist Church in Brazos County. After sunrise, investigators returned to the scene to determine what caused the fire.

Jason Ware, Brazos County Precinct 3 Volunteer Fire Department Fire Chief, says because of the significance of the damage, it’s not going to be easy pinpointing exactly what happened.

“One of the things that happens when you have this much fire damage is it’s very difficult to determine a cause. We can come up with several scenarios of what it could’ve been and then we try to disprove those scenarios, or prove them,” said Ware.

Ware says at this time, nothing can be ruled out.

“There are multiple possibilities,” said Ware. “We’ll probably bring in the state fire marshals office and an arsenic accelerant dog; not because we think it’s arson, just to rule out, or rule out accelerants if we can.”

As the investigation was taking place, visitors stopped by, including Steve Doyle, who is the Director of Missions with Creath Brazos-Baptist Association.

“I’m here right now simply to pray for the congregation. Southern Oaks is part of our association, an important part of our association, and just to show solidarity with them and pray for them,” Doyle said. “It’s already a tough time in our culture right now and for a church to receive a blow like this is significant.”

He said it’s hard seeing one of the churches they partner with in such bad shape.

“My stomach got sick just to see the devastation here. It’s just a total loss,” said Doyle.

Doyle hopes they can help the church rebuild with the help of the Southern Baptist State Convention. Doyle also hopes the local church community can come together to help Southern Oaks host worship services in the meantime.

“I think these types of trials are also an opportunity for people to come together so I’m hoping that the Baptist’s in this area and other churches will come together and support Southern Oaks,” said Doyle.

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