Historic Fayetteville church devastated by fire ready for rededication

(WNCN)

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – A historic Fayetteville church is ready for its rededication Sunday after a devastating fire heavily damaged the building in March 2014.

St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church was built in the late 1800s but it was almost all taken away.

A homeless man admitted to authorities he was smoking on the church porch causing nearby debris to catch fire.

The man could be seen in surveillance video walking away from the building as smoke began to billow from the church.

“He didn’t run away, he stayed until the fire department came and spoke to police, to authorities, told them it was an accident,” said Samuel Lloyd.

The church sustained $800,000 in damage and the roof was destroyed.

“I was running towards it saying, ‘Please God, don’t take this church, don’t take it from us’” Carol Graham said.

Carol was confirmed at St. Joseph’s and married her husband Gene at the nearly almost 20 years ago. Gene Graham is a lifelong member.

There was also significant water and smoke damage inside the church.

The church is home to one-of-a-kind Tiffany windows, a 160-year-old pipe organ and the original pews are still intact.

Just a little more than a year later, everything is like new – inside and out.

Repairs had to match original designs since St. Joseph’s is a National Historic landmark.

Church leaders said they received overwhelming support and donations from the community and other churches.

“We felt that God was not gonna leave this little Parrish alone, that he’s not through with us,” said Lloyd.

St. Joseph’s will be rededicated Sunday.

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