NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Firefighters responded to Trinity Community Commons after fire broke out inside the church.
The two-alarm fire was reported Wednesday morning at the church, which is located on Trinity Lane. It's unclear what caused the fire.
Nate Paulk is the executive director of Trinity Community Commons and says they're thankful no one was inside the church at the time. The group has leased the property for the last eight years and on Tuesday night, they continued their tradition of hosting a community meal.
"Obviously during the pandemic, we don't sit down and eat every Tuesday night. Last night we had a team that walked here in the snow. Took care of people in the neighborhood," Paulk said.
Paulk held back tears thinking about the sacrifices made by members of the group who he says have always been committed to helping one another in this East Trinity Lane neighborhood.
On any other week, many of those same people may have been in the building when the fire sparked. That includes other non-profits who partner with the group to offer a variety of resources. The snow and ice storms of the past few days kept most of those people home and canceled the scheduled Ash Wednesday services.
Paulk says they also have more than 18 students who regularly attend virtual school from the church and they too were home when the fire began. Jami Anderson is a member of the community group and says their main concern is making sure these students have a place to study.
"Whatever the challenges are going to be with the virtual pod, we will find some place to have that where the kids can come and be safe if we cannot have that in the building," Paulk said.
Members of Trinity Community Commons group comfort each other after the fire. There was supposed to be a service held today, but they cancelled because of the ice/snow. The community group also hosts virtual learning for multiple students, but that too was cancelled.@NC5 pic.twitter.com/XqHbJwdoRR— Levi Ismail (@LeviAIsmail) February 17, 2021
"Crews did an amazing job in saving this building and containing the fire to one half of the building," the fire department said in a tweet. Sky 5 flew over the area and showed smoke billowing from the church.
One side of the church appears to have been damaged, but the extent of the damage is not yet clear. Initial findings suggest most of the damage was limited to the sanctuary. Anderson says the sanctuary holds the most historic value of this old church.
The fire at 204 E Trinity Lane has been extinguished. Crews did an amazing job in saving this building and containing the fire to one half of the building. There are no injuries to civilians or personnel. Impacted streets should be reopened soon. pic.twitter.com/bpwyr3Yle9— Nashville Fire Dept (@NashvilleFD) February 17, 2021
Nate says they're working to organize a better way for people to donate directly to fire recovery. For the time being they say people can donate to their general fund by visiting their website at: https://secure.anedot.com/trinity-community-commons/give.