Rebuilding started for LaFollette church burned down by arsonist

Rebuilding started for LaFollette church burned down by arsonist

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They are clearing the debris and getting ready to lay the foundation for their new building in the same location as the old one. They are clearing the debris and getting ready to lay the foundation for their new building in the same location as the old one.
For members like Noah Lamaster, watching his church burn that Sunday morning was hard to witness. For members like Noah Lamaster, watching his church burn that Sunday morning was hard to witness.
State fire investigators determined it was arson. State fire investigators determined it was arson.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

LAFOLLETTE (WATE) - After their church was burned down by an arsonist nearly two months ago, members of a Campbell County congregation are finally starting to rebuild.

Fincastle Church of God, located off Old Middlesboro Highway in LaFollette, burned down in the early morning hours of December 9, 2012.

State fire investigators determined it was arson just a few days later.

Church members were devastated to lose their decades-old church, and they're anxious to worship in their new church home as soon as possible.

For members like Noah Lamaster, watching his church burn that Sunday morning was hard to witness.

It was even harder to look at the damage the fire left behind.

"To me it was just like seeing your house on fire. When we got here it was up in flames, and it pretty much just shattered my heart to pieces," said Lamaster. "When I started coming up here, they just made you feel right at home. That's what I like about this church."

Reverend Mike Smith says every one of the 100 plus members was devastated by the loss.

"We found out it was arson, and that's been a hard thing to deal with," said Smith.

They had been in that building since 1979.

"There's a lot of great memories. My daughter got married in the church here," since Smith.

They are moving on and focusing on starting fresh.

Just this week, they have cleared the debris and are getting ready to lay the foundation for their new building in the same location as the old one.

"We're taking it one day at a time. The closer we get to seeing the concrete go on the ground, the more excited we're getting," said Smith. "We serve a mighty God that will help us get this built back."

They hope once all the rubble is cleared and a new building is complete, it'll help the congregation forget the bad memories that someone burned down their church on purpose.

"I just imagine when we have the new church building, it's gonna bring us together more than it already has," said Lamaster.

It may take a while to finish a new church, but they are dedicated to the project.

"Hang in and keep our heads up because it won't be long until we have a church back here," said Smith.

Fincastle's insurance isn't going to cover the full cost of the new building, which is an estimated $350,000.

They are about $100,000 short.

The church has set up a donation fund at the Community Trust Bank in LaFollette.

To donate, contact the bank at (423) 562-3364.

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