Community mourns loss of abandoned building with rich history

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JACKSON, Ky. (WYMT)- Crews in Breathitt County spent Thursday morning battling flames that took over an abandoned structure on Armory Dr. and spread to a church next door.

Courtesy of Bobby Thorpe/The Breathitt Advocate

Officers tell WYMT they received a call about the fire around 8 Thursday morning. They said flames quickly spread to The Old Free Pentecostal Church of God, that is when officers, fire crews and community members stepped in to help.

"The fire department, police department, street crew, local residents, the business owner next door helped carry the bibles and the amps and the guitars and all that. And it was all the stuff we just tried to save from the church," said Jackson Police Chief Kenneth Spicer.

"This church has been around, 50, 60, 70 years it's been around for about 50 years at least," said David Lansaw. Lansaw's father is the Pastor at the church, he said among the devastation, he is fortunate no one was hurt.

Others living in the neighborhood said while the building the fire started in is abandoned, it used to be occupied by a couple who took care of the neighborhood.

"My grandparents moved into this home just before.. well a month before I was born," said Edward Fugate.

Fugate grew up in the neighborhood with his family and said his grandparents treated everyone who came by like family. Making the now abandoned structure home for many.

"It was always a focal point for like our friends for the local youth and stuff like that, we always had people coming over and they always treated everyone around here like we were family."

After his grandmother died, his grandfather moved from the structure, leaving it to an owner who did not rent to many others. Fugate and others said it is sad to see the building burn since it is not only filled with memories like family weddings, but was a historic building in Jackson.

"Some of the architecture of the building is definitely early 20th century probably even older, it's a very historical building in Jackson," Fugate said.

"250 [years old] at least it is one of the first buildings ever built in Jackson," said Lansaw.

The building was built from sandstone, something that made the stones desirable by many from California to Ohio. Those in the community said this loss runs deep for the community.

"It is a loss but it can be rebuilt," Lansaw said.

No one was injured in the fire. Police and fire crews are investigating to determine if it is arson.



 
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