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Fire erupts at Jesup church

Fire erupts at Jesup church
Published: Aug. 7, 2016 at 9:36 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 8, 2016 at 3:52 AM EDT
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JESUP, GA (WTOC) - Firefighters battled a fire at New Life Pentecostal Church in Jesup Sunday afternoon.

Church members hadn't been gone long from an afternoon program when the pastor returned to get something he'd forgotten.

He came back around 3:30 and found smoke coming from the building.

"I ran to the kitchen to check there, nothing. I went to the attic, didn't find it there. When I came back down, I could hear the crackling. It was behind our baptistry and the flames came through the door," said Pastor Justin Drawdy.

Drawdy called 911 and tried to fight the fire with a fire extinguisher but flames forced him to run.

Fire crews tried to save the building, but also had keep the fire away from nearby propane tanks.

An investigator from the state fire marshal's office searched through rubble to find the cause of the fire.

Pastor Drawdy had high praise for fire fighters and others who tried to help.

"We have a wonderful community in Wayne County. So many churches have contacted us, even from Hinesville, to offer help," said Justin Drawdy.

The first signs of fire emerged around 3:30 p.m. when the pastor noticed smoke coming from a utility closet.

The smoke turned to heavy flames before help arrived.

The blaze destroyed portions of the roof and interior walls.

WTOC will update this story as more information becomes available.

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