Mark Melvin/CBS Atlanta- The Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit in Winder was destroyed by fire Thursday night.
Vickie Fussell/church member- A view of the exterior of the church before the fire.
Vickie Fussell/church member- The interior of the church was renovated a few years ago.
WINDER, GA (CBS ATLANTA) -
The oldest church in the Barrow County town of Winder was destroyed by fire late Thursday night.
Winder Fire Chief Matt Whiting said it's possible that a lightning strike sparked the flames that ripped through the church, built in 1904 as the old Methodist Episcopal Church.
In recent years, the building was occupied by Sanctuary of the Holy Spirit.
In 2005, parishioners Edgar Fussell and his wife Vickie began restoring it themselves. It took them more than two years to complete the restoration, which included refinished heart pine floors and 1920s-era seats from the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
"We had just gotten through repainting it about a month ago on the outside and inside and everything, redoing it again," said Fussell. "We had it really looking sharp, and then all of the sudden we get a phone call tonight that it was on fire."
Firefighters said the building is a total loss.
"It breaks your heart," said Fussell.
"I've never heard my husband cry before. I heard him cry tonight," said Vickie Fussell.
"We had just put so much into it," her husband said. "We loved the church so much."
No injuries were reported.
"Me and my fiance were going to get married here," said Matthew Adair, a grandson of the church's pastor Philip Adair.
Matthew's sister Ashley Chiado got married at the church last month.
"I'll be the only grandchild that ever gets to get married here," she said.
Copyright 2012 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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