Mary Lynn Gredig always left her Bible on the piano where she played at Kagley’s Chapel Baptist Church. On Sunday night she changed her routine.
Standing in the parking lot of Kagley's Chapel, Gredig watched firefighters cleaning up after a blaze leveled the church she has attended since she was 7 years old.
“I always leave my Bible on the piano, but last night I brought it home,” Gredig said. Gredig's sister, Margaret Kagley, was also at the church as firefighters worked to control hot spots. “Mary Lynn and I have been through many difficult times," said Margaret Kagley, 78. "When we do, we come here to pray. This church has been our rock.”
Blount County Fire Department reported that personnel were called to the church at 4301 Six Mile Road, Maryville, at 7:25 a.m. and arrived at 7:39 a.m. They said the fire was controlled by 9:32 a.m. but firefighters were still putting out hotspots Monday afternoon.
Marion O’Briant, public information officer for the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, said the call came into to Blount County Emergency 911 operators at 7:25 a.m.
Duane Payne, chairman of the Deacons, said he called the fire in Monday morning when he saw flames coming from the steeple.
A total of seven tankers and an engine from Blount County Fire Department and two tankers from Greenback Volunteer Department were brought to fight the blaze and Blount County Rescue Squad also responded to assist. Rural/Metro Ambulance Service personnel responded as a precautionary measure, O’Briant said.
Firefighters worked throughout the morning on site. “Our fire investigator is there, and he didn’t think he would be able to get in until tomorrow because it was so hot,” O’Briant said. Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were called in because it was a church, she said.
The oldest part of the church was built in 1883, church members said. Margaret Kagley, who also helps keep the history of the church, was worried about the filing cabinets where church history was stored. There was some cause for thanksgiving early Monday afternoon when firefighters recovered the church bell.
Church members are already planning for the future, saying that there would be a service on site on Wednesday and that Sunday services would be held at the former Centenary Church that closed their doors last month.
The message on the church sign was changed out on Friday and the sign was still standing. It read: “All we have seen teaches us to trust the creator for what we have not seen.”
Blount Today will have more on the fire in Thursday's paper.