Deborah Horne is the Rowan County Fire Marshal and said someone walking their dog called 911 after seeing the flames around 11:26 p.m. Another person driving home also called to report the flames. The building was fully engulfed by flames by the time the fire department arrived. However, they were able to contain the blaze from damaging nearby structures.
Rowan County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating the fire but have not yet indicated what caused the fire.
Francis Young said her grandfather, William Blackwell, donated the land the church was built on, which has been owned and managed by the Blackwell and Carson families ever since. She also said the church had been moved from Holt Road by her ancestors, plank by plank.
“The church was originally on what is now Holt Road,” she said. “The street didn’t have a name at that time. We called it ‘The Bottoms’ because it was way down there. But my family took the church and moved it, plank by plank, on a wagon, to the place it is now.”
Young’s parents, Mary and Paul Blackwell are both buried in the church cemetery. The church had reportedly been closed for 50 years due to the deaths or relocation of members of the congregation. “In about 1980, I think, the church closed because the older members had died and the younger family members moved away, so there was no congregation. So the church has been closed for 50 years.”
Young added that she can’t believe the church is gone as it had been such a huge part of her life. “I just can’t believe this is true,” she said. “That church has been a part of my life all of my life.”