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New Year's fire destroy Duplin church sanctuary

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Firefighters work to contain a fire destroyed the Rose Hill United Methodist Church Sanctuary in Duplin County on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.

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The Duplin Times

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

ROSE HILL — A fire destroyed a historic church sanctuary in the Rose Hill community of Duplin County on Monday.

Crews were called to the Rose Hill United Methodist Church, 314 E Church St., about 8 a.m., according to Matt Barwick of Duplin Emergency Management. The fire is believed to have begun early Monday morning. 

Firefighters attempted to enter the burning church when they arrived but retreated to a defensive firefighting position when the roof collapsed. No one was injured.

The church fellowship hall may have been saved, however the distinct brick sanctuary, completed in 1929, was little more than a smoldering shell by noon.

"It saddens us greatly to see a historic church like this go up in flames, especially on the first day of the new year, we hate to see a new year start out this way," Barwick said.

"On a positive note, no one was injured, no one was in the church, everyone's safe and is going to go home."

Officials also warned members of the public to stay away from the building in coming days.

The large building has lost much of its structural integrity due to the fire, ice and shingles are still falling from the top and the area is covered in broken glass.

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