Samaritan's Purse

Brazos County church building ‘total loss’ in Fourth of July fire

July 6th, 2020 / By: Joshua Owens | Managing Editor / comments

BRYAN – Southern Oaks Baptist Church burned to the ground late in the evening July 4. . No one was injured, but the building is a “total loss,” according to SBTC field ministry strategist Gordon Knight, who works with pastors in the area.

The building “started burning sometime around midnight on Saturday night,” Knight said. By the time the fire department arrived, the building was “totally engulfed.” Around 4 a.m., the fire was under control.

The church held an Independence Day celebration the evening of the fire, Knight said, but “they left the church around 10:30” and when the fire started “no one was on the property.”

The cause of the fire is still being investigated. “Because of the total destruction of the church, it’s going to be very, very hard for them to determine what happened,” he said. It’s unclear whether enough evidence remains for investigators to know what started the fire. Jason Ware, Brazos County Precinct 3 Volunteer Fire Department chief, told KBTX that “when you have this much fire damage … it’s very difficult to determine a cause.”

SBTC Executive Director Jim Richards commented, “It has been my blessing to have known Pastor Ramiro from the early days of the SBTC. We are sorry with them in the loss of their facility but stand with them as they seek to move forward for the future.”

Hours after the fire died down on Sunday, at 10:30 a.m. the congregation gathered at the Baptist Student Ministry on the campus of Texas A&M. Southern Oaks, which began as a mission church, runs about 70 people on a normal Sunday, according to Knight.

Knight, who in addition to serving with the SBTC also pastors Christ’s Way Baptist Church in Bryan, said his church has also offered its facility for Southern Oaks to use.

“I’ve known Southern Oaks for quite some time,” Knight said. “ The pastor is an excellent, excellent servant. He and his family are great people. The church is solid. I just think it’s very unfortunate that it happens to anybody, but when you actually know who the people are—it’s close to home, it’s personal. We as the SBTC want to do everything we can to help them with everything they need, and we’ll be here for them. 

“This church is an example of the majority of Southern Baptist churches,” Richards said. “Although small in number they have been faithful to our Lord Jesus through the years.”