Historic Liberty County church burned

Tarkington Fire Chief Paul Gregory (maroon shirt) and Liberty County Fire Marshal Bill Hergemueller discuss a fire Sunday that destroyed the Little Flock Baptist Church in Rayburn.

By Vanesa Brashier, editor@bluebonnetnews.com

Fire destroyed a 132-year-old church Sunday morning in Liberty County. Little Flock Baptist Church, located on CR 2192 near Rayburn, is nothing but charred rubble after fire swept through the foyer and sanctuary.

The fire was reported around 8:30 a.m. after a local realtor, Phillip Cameron, spotted smoke coming from the building.

Cameron was bringing feed to his horses when he saw what he thought were leaves burning beside the church.

“When I came around, I saw that the church was on fire,” Cameron said.

He knocked on the door of a neighbor, who called 911.

By the time firefighters arrived, fire had swept through the building, destroying all but the back portion where the church baptistery is located. A second building adjacent to the sanctuary that houses a kitchen and reception area was untouched.

Rev. L.D. Allen, church pastor, said the church is insured and will rebuild. The predominantly black congregation is made up of 20-25 regular church-goers but some 60 people are considered members of the church.

The church was established in 1887. A cement cornerstone that tells the church’s history was not destroyed.

Allen is saddened to see the historic church lost, but said, “Whatever the Good Lord lets happen, we’ll deal with it.”

Fire departments from Tarkington, North Liberty County, Cleveland and South Polk County responded.

According to Tarkington Fire Chief Paul Gregory, the state fire marshal’s office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) will be assisting Liberty County Fire Marshal Bill Hergemueller in investigating the cause of the fire.

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