WARRENVILLE, SC (WFXG) - Investigators are unable to determine the cause of the fire that destroyed Glover Grove Baptist Church early Friday morning.
The Aiken County Sheriff's Office, S.C. Law Enforcement Division, the FBI and the ATF collected evidence, but SLED agents were unable to determine the exact cause of the fire, so it was ruled undetermined.
Firefighters responded to the church at 331 Project Rd. at 3:26 a.m. Friday.
"It happened so quick, it was just like a nightmare," said Bobby Jones, pastor of Glover Grove Baptist Church. "That's 33 years just gone down the drain."
Thirty-three years of fellowship, service and ministry went up in flames.
"The first units reported heavy fire coming from the building and it took about an hour, two hours to get extinguished," Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt said.
"When I opened the door and saw the flames, I was like, 'Oh my God!,'" said Lois Jones, who lives a few houses down from the church.
Lois Jones, the wife of Pastor Bobby Jones, were awakened by a neighbor about their church being on fire.
"At first I thought I was dreaming," Lois Jones said. "I went and opened the door and she said, 'The church is on fire.' And I looked across the field and sure enough, it was just in a blaze."
"It really hurt me and it still hurts me to know that something like this could happen to the church," Deacon Angulis Williams said.
"I just had a feeling that you could not, could not explain," Bobby Jones said. "It's just a funny feeling and a teary feeling."
The Aiken County Sheriff's Office along with forensic investigators, SLED and the FBI spent most of the day investigating the scene to determine the cause of the fire.
"Any time you have a church on fire we all work as a team," Sheriff Hunt said. "We just invite everybody to come help us determine the cause of this thing."
Many speculations on what caused the fire are circling around the, but one thing no one wants to think is that someone may have intentionally burned the church.
"I pray that is not the case and deep down in my heart I cannot see that being the case," Pastor Bobby Jones said.
Pastor Bobby Jones said all he can do is pray and continue to move forward for the sake of his congregation.
No one was injured in the fire.