The charred cross left standing among the smoldering rubble of her small North Texas church was a devastating sight for Lanita Smith.
Smith, 66, who is the wife of the Balsora Baptist Church's pastor, was working at her daycare Friday when she was told that their house of worship had caught fire during a remodel, she told NPR on Monday.
The contractors had taken a lunch break after working on the roof when they returned to a fire, Smith said.
The church, parts of which Smith said were roughly 100 years old, was completely destroyed except for a lone cross in the sanctuary seen standing among the smoke and ruin.
"It showed us that God is there, God is there and he's going to get us through," Smith told NPR, crying. "[The cross was] used for the members to put their prayer request on. They would, we would write their prayer request on the tags, and they would hang them on the cross. And so we were able to see what different prayer requests we had."
The fire department responded to the scene; no one was killed in the fire but a few firefighters suffered minor injuries, Smith said. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, she said.
"Extreme temperatures are beyond taxing to resources and manpower in events like these," the local fire department in Wise County wrote on Facebook in response to the fire. "Churches also pose an inherent danger related to the great span of the sanctuaries and great halls, which makes them very prone to collapse. The sanctuary roof did begin collapse while [firefighters] were in the building, several [firefighters] were seen/treated by Wise County EMS on scene."
The church had 75 congregants and was located roughly 45 miles west of Fort Worth, she said.
The church was insured and has already collected roughly $5,000 in donations to help rebuild.
"It's sad, but it's a happy time that we're going to, we're going to get through this and we know God's in it," Smith said. "We're just, we're just going to be anxious to see what God has planned for us."