Man aided by church helps save sanctuary from flames
Feb 8, 2011 2:43 PM CST
LAVERGNE, Tenn. – A portion of a Rutherford County church was destroyed by fire early Tuesday morning but it could have been much worse.
Only an outbuilding on the property of Miracle Baptist Church on Murfreesboro Road in LaVergne, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville, was scorched by flames, thanks, in part, to a man who was down-on-his-luck and reached out to the church for help just days earlier.
Ronald Kehl placed the critical call to the 911 just before 5 a.m. after he woke up, looked out his window and saw smoke turn to flames.
"I guess the good Lord said 'Get up and look out your window,'" he told Nashville's News 2.
The outbuilding at Miracle Baptist Church had only been up and running for less than a year and was used for youth activities.
Several band instruments stored in the room were also destroyed. The loss is estimated at $50,000.
While the flames scorched the outbuilding, they never made it to the main building or the sanctuary.
Fire officials credit Kehl's 911 call for that.
Pastor Michael Todd Kirkland told Nashville's News 2 just days ago Kehl asked the church if he could park his camper in the church's rear parking lot at night so he could sleep.
While the 300-member congregation may not call it divine intervention, perhaps it was a blessing in disguise.
"God does work in mysterious ways. I believe that," Kirkland said.
Kehl added, "I'm just trying to find good people to hang with [and] maybe find a job."
LaVergne Fire Marshal Victor Woods said the blaze was caused by a malfunction in the building's HVAC unit.
No one was injured.
Church leaders planned to assess the full scope of the damage over the next 24 hours.