Cessnock Baptist Church fire | PHOTOS

Parishioners at Cessnock Baptist Church have been left saddened, but not defeated after their beloved church was engulfed by flames on Sunday evening.

NSW Fire and Rescue were called to the scene on the corner of Hall and Quarrybylong streets, Aberdare about 6pm.

Fire and Rescue Inspector Roger Whight said the church was already well alight when emergency services arrived.

Crews from Cessnock, Bellbird, Abermain and Kearsley fought to extinguish the fire by about 8pm.

The cause of the blaze is unknown, but is not being treated as suspicious.

Cessnock Baptist Church secretary Graham Fallon left the church about 5.50pm, but received a call from a nearby resident just after he got home to tell him the building was on fire.

“I didn’t believe them, I was only there five minutes ago,” he said.

Mr Fallon went straight back to the church, which was severely damaged by the time he arrived.

The 104-year-old timber building did not take long to burn, along with all of the contents inside. A 12-month-old organ, pews and hymn books were all destroyed.

It was a disappointing day for the parishioners, many of whom have attended the church for decades and held weddings, baptisms and funerals in the building.

“That’s the saddest part, there are a lot of memories there,” Mr Fallon said.

But Mr Fallon said the situation has not caused the parishioners to lose their faith.

“Our faith is alive, it’s not in a building or in stuff,” Mr Fallon said.

“We’re not worried.”

Mr Fallon said they were thankful no one was in the building when the fire broke out.

“It could so easily have happened when the place was packed,” he said.

The loss brought out the best in the community, Mr Fallon said. Many other local churches have already offered help and a place to go.

Mr Fallon also praised the efforts of firefighters, who managed to protect the church hall and Sunday school hall from fire damage.

“They did a great job,” he said.

The damage is yet to be assessed by the insurance company, but Mr Fallon said he and other parishioners did not think the building would be able to be saved.

“Everyone is resigned to the fact that it’s going to come down,” he said.

Services will continue as usual on Sunday in the church hall.

EARLIER REPORT

The Cessnock Baptist Church at Aberdare was severely damaged in a fire on Sunday evening.

NSW Fire and Rescue were called to the scene on the corner of Hall and Quarrybylong streets about 6pm.

Fire and Rescue Inspector Roger Whight said the church was already well alight when emergency services arrived.

Crews from Cessnock, Bellbird, Abermain and Kearsley fought to extinguish the fire by about 8pm.

The church was empty at the time of the blaze. No one was injured.

Inspector Whight commended the efforts of firefighters, who managed to prevent the fire from spreading to another church building.

Inspector Whight said the cause of the fire was unknown, but was not being treated as suspicious.

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