By Jesse Wood
Jan. 7, 2014. Amidst the howling winds and the subzero temperature, a fire totaled the Foscoe Christian Church Monday evening, leaving the 90-year-old congregation to regroup a path forward.
While the Watauga County Rescue Squad stood on standby, firefighters from the Foscoe and Boone fire departments responded to the structure fire dispatch at 11:23 p.m. on Monday. The church is located at 8834 N.C. 105, directly across the street from the Foscoe Country Corner.
“[The firefighters], of course, worked all night,” Watauga County Fire Marshall Steve Sudderth said. “It’s pretty well totaled.”
Sudderth said the fire is still under investigation, but the origin of the fire began in the furnace room.
“We have to let some ice melt before we can actually get down there and get a good look at it. There’s nothing suspicious about the fire. The exact cause, we are leaving it undetermined until further investigation,” Sudderth said, although he did add that some firemen have indicated that the heating system malfunctioned.
Julie Burks, the wife of pastor Dan Burks, said that the Foscoe Christian Church board was meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss its next move.
“The next step is to regroup and figure out what to do in the short term for a building, and next spring, when things thaw out, start rebuilding,” Burks said, adding that nothing left of the sanctuary was salvageable.
Burks mentioned that many people have memories from the Foscoe Christian Church, those who grew up in the church, experienced their weddings and buried loved ones there. But Burks mentioned that buildings are replaceable and she believes a positive will emerge from this misfortune.
“We all have to remember that there was no loss of life, so that is a good thing. Buildings can be replaced,” Burks said. “It’s not the end of the world … Hopefully, this can draw us closer together as a congregation, and we need to keep our trust in God.”