by: Dave Faherty Updated:
WATAUGA COUNTY, N.C. - When firefighters arrive at a church in Foscoe, flames had already burned through the roof and the temperature was down around 10 degrees below zero.
Thelma McLean showed the charred hymnal song she found from the Foscoe Christian Church.
She couldn't believe the damage after flames swept through the building where she has been a member for more than four decades. McLean and her husband donated the money for the steeple which is one of the only things left standing.
"My children grew up here but it was god's building but we are the church. I told them we didn't have a building when we built this one but we'll continue," McLean said.
Firefighters were on the scene for nearly five hours in sub-zero temperatures.
They said one of their trucks did freeze up because of the cold temperatures, but they were able to keep water on the fire
Investigators believe the fire started after an old oil furnace malfunctioned because of the bitterly cold temperatures.
"The church will go on. If I had any word to say to the congregation right now is trust God We don't know the details but trust God to open doors and we'll follow where he leads," said Pastor Dan Burks.
The temperatures were still below freezing in several locations in the mountains Tuesday midday and county emergency personnel are asking the folks to check on their neighbors.