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Fire Destroys California Church

***UPDATE WEDNESDAY 12:30 P.M.***California Rural Fire Protection District Chief Steve Walters says the State Fire Marshal is investigating the fire, which could take two to three weeks to determine the cause.According to State Fire Marshal Randy Cole, the current cause of the fire is “undetermined” due to the extent of damage. Cole says the fire remains under investigation. He says there is nothing suspicious about the fire, but does encourage any resident to call the arson hotline at 1-800-39-ARSON if they noticed anything or anyone unusual in the area.Church leaders plan to worship Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m.***ORIGINAL STORY***A Moniteau County congregation is without a place of worship after a fire destroyed the Flag Spring Baptist Church near California early Tuesday morning.The fire completely destroyed the church off Highway 50, but there is no official word on what sparked the blaze.Church services are still set for Sunday in the same spot, because the congregation says the church is the people inside and not the building itself.Sally Vogel, the music director at Flag Spring Baptist Church, says she has been up since 3 a.m. this morning to pray, work and organize a congregation.”We congregated this morning at the church and cried and had prayer and hugged each other,” said Vogel.By the time fire crews arrived at the over 100-year-old church, the building was gone. Churchgoers say they will meet on Sunday, despite the loss of their church.”Are we going to rebuild? Well yes we are, we can’t not,” said Vogel. “There’s been a church there for a long time. It’s where I raised my kids. We figure if we can go to a football game and be cold, we can worship the Lord and be cold.”Vogel says the congregation has already been offered a temporary new home, but wanted to spend this Sunday in their real home. She says there has already been an outpouring of supper from the California community and even from residents in Jefferson City.If you would like to support the Flag Spring Baptist Church, call Sally Vogel at 573-796-4851.

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