Fire at the Church

Bookmark and Share

At approximately 3:45 p.m. on December 12, 2011 we received a phone call from our church monitoring service that there our system had been activated.  We receive a fair amount of false alarms, but this was real.  The church secretary had locked up, armed the system, and left more than an hour earlier.  One of the deacons drove by to check on the situation. He was met by the Horry County Fire Rescue crew already on the scene.  They quickly setup and addressed the potential catastrophe.  The road in front of the church (Highway 50) was shut down and soon became filled with more than a dozen emergency vehicles.  Flames could be seen coming from the nursery window on the back side of the building as well as several places on the roof.  Smoke was billowing from the same window and the attic vents. Neighbors gathered and several offered their condolences and mentioned their prayers for us. The hardworking fire fighters soon had contained and extinguished the fire.  The damage is significant, but appears to be repairable.  As news spread by phone and media announcements, several members stopped by the facility to pray and offer encouragement.

The updates on the progress of the rebuilding are below listed given with the most recent at the top of the page.

On April 27, 2012, we received our certificate of occupancy to begin using our facility again.  Our first service back in the building was on April 29. There is still more work to be done, but we thank the Lord that we can once again have the use of our facility to do the work of the ministry.

April 17, 2012
  • The painting is complete except for some touch up
  • Carpet and tile is complete
  • Counter tops are installed
  • Outside windows are in place
  • Fire & security systems are going in


April 10, 2012
  • The painting continues
  • Carpet nearly complete
  • Nursery receiving counter is installed
  • Ceramic tile work continuing


April 5, 2012
  • Chair rail and baseboard nearly finished
  • Interior doors installed
  • Ceramic tile being installed on kitchen backsplash
  • Closet doors installed in classrooms
  • Front and rear doors replaced


April 3, 2012
  • Internal electricity is turned on to the building
  • All cabinetry is complete
  • Recessed lights and chandelier replaced


March 23, 2012
  • Finishing touches on drywall
  • Overhead lights begin to be installed
  • Contaminated grout removed from tile floors in bathrooms, entry ways, and kitchen
  • Over head storage built-in over classroom closets


March 13, 2012
  • Hallway storage room built
  • Ceiling textured and painted white
  • Walls primed
  • Nursery cabinetry installed
  • Classroom closets built
  • Some of the baseboard installed
March 9, 2012
  • The final coat of mudding for the drywall is complete and the sanding commenced.
  • The auditorium was completely repainted with a richer tone to enhance the contrast
March 1, 2012
  • The sheetrock passed inspection on Thursday.
  • The drywall team began mudding the walls Thursday afternoon.
  • The team accomplished a remarkable amount of progress in a short period of time.
February 29, 2012
  • The insulation inspection passed on Feb 27th.
  • The sheetrock began going up the same afternoon.
  • The ceiling gets two layers of sheetrock throughout the building and that part is done.
  • They hope to have the sheetrock done this week.
  • They intend to begin and maybe finish the mudding next week.
February 25, 2012
  • The stucco work was completed on the gable end as well as the areas above the nursery windows.
  • Sheetrock was delivered and placed in rooms throughout the building ready for the hangers.
  • Two sections of side walk were damaged by a delivery vehicle (fixable).
  • The building passed inspection on rough-in HVAC,  electrical, security, & audio.
  • The vinyl fascia was completed.
  • The wall insulation was hung.
February 17, 2012
  • The rough-in electrical will be completed today.
  • The HVAC installation continues with completion projected for Feb 22.
  • The stucco work on the end gable begins with extensive scaffolding set in place.
February 9, 2012
  • Final cleaning of the nursery area and walls rebuilt that were destroyed.
  • New layout for the nursery rooms improve the function of our ministry to the precious little ones.

February 7, 2012

  • The last of the nursery was cleared out and A&I prepared to begin replacing burned studs in the walls.
  • Once completed, the nursery will have a newer layout that will make it more efficient for the workers.
February 6, 2012
  • After 8 weeks of waiting, we were finally given permission to begin demo on the two nursery rooms where the fire began.
  • Much of the contents of the nurseries was burned or charred beyond use.
  • The HVAC contractor is beginning his installation.
  • The roof passed inspection by county code enforcement.


February 1, 2012
  • Additional work was needed on the roof including the reopening of the roof to replace some piggy-back trusses.
  • Having completed the structural work, the roofers wanted to finish putting the remaining shingles on the building as soon as possible.
January 27, 2012
  • The steeple is power washed and then painted a bright semi-gloss white causing it to veritably glow.
  • The auditorium carpet was given an initial steam cleaning to see if the smell of smoke could be removed.
January 19, 2012
  • Letters went out to bondholders requesting that our bank's inspections and oversight be sufficient for all parties interested.
  • Work continued on the roof with the goal of completion by tomorrow.
January 17, 2012
  • We are still being told that we are on target to be back in our building by the end of March.

  • Work on the roof is rapid. Trusses have been replaced, new plywood is down, and tar paper covers the structure. We are dried-in within 2 days.

January 16, 2012
  • Work on the roof began today and a great deal of progress was accomplished.

  • The nursery rooms have still not be released for demo and refurbishing. The appliance manufacture has not been over 5 weeks in coming to inspect.

January 5, 2012
  • Meeting regarding the disbursement of insurance proceeds as the building is repaired.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dear Friends,

This morning Mike Evans, our treasurer, and I met with personnel from our bank and had a conference call with representatives of our  bond company.  The outcome of the meeting was:

- An explanation of how inspections and disbursements of insurance funds would be handled.  No draws on the funds in escrow would be allowed unless all three entities (bank, bond company, & church) agreed.

- Our bank, as the primary lien holder, would be making inspections on the progress in remediation at regular intervals. They have a construction department that is very experienced in overseeing these matters.

- The suggestion was made that the bond holders be given the opportunity to waive their right to be represented by the bond company and trustee attorney in lieu of having their interested represented by the bank. This would save the church significant expenses and expedite the process of remediation. 

- The bond company agreed to draft a waiver that would be acceptable to the trustee attorney, approved by the church, and distributed to the bond holders for signatures.

Carl Wood, Pastor


January 3, 2012
  • Updated pictures from the building

December 25, 2011
  • Our Christmas Day service was a wonderful time of worship.

  • The local news station came out to do an update on our church.

Note: the reference to "the man upstairs" is not a quote from Pastor Wood

LITTLE RIVER, SC (WMBF) Members of Anchor Baptist Church in Little River held their Christmas morning services in a funeral home, after a fire two weeks ago destroyed the church's permanent building. Pastor Carl Wood says the situation isn't ideal, but the fact that his congregation has any place to be together on Christmas is a miracle. Wood says the loss of their building has brought the church and the surrounding community closer. Other churches and non-members have offered support and space, like Lee Funeral home. "Lee Funeral Home immediately made their facility available to us for Sunday morning services and then we've had a couple other offers. We're using a church for Wednesday night's service and we've been meeting in homes," said Wood. Members are grateful to have a place to worship and say it's not about the church itself, but the people who come together to pray. "We can worship the Lord anywhere we are and to know that they're going to go ahead and worship the Lord here. I'm just thankful for a place that they've got to go worship," said Cindy Lang, who's visiting the church. Wood estimates the permanent building was about 70-percent destroyed. He hopes insurance will cover the damage, but he's not absolutely sure. Fire investigators say the fire sparked from a small refrigerator in the nursery.

December 15, 2011
  • Update after first service in a temporary meeting location

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dear Friends,

We enjoyed a wonderful service last night in the facility of Lee Funeral Home. We had an open time for questions and comments followed by a time in the Word and in prayer. Several indicated approval at the idea of having Sunday evening service in the form of several informal home meetings. We will be announcing where these locations will be. We are working on plans for our midweek service. Sunday mornings (10 & 11 a.m.) will be at Lee Funeral Home. More information to come.

Carl Wood, Pastor


December 13, 2011
  • Open letter from Pastor Wood regarding the fire.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dear Friends,

The out-pouring of love through online comments and phone calls has been overwhelming. Thank you all so very much. I feel so unworthy. 1 Peter 4:12 reminds us to "...think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you." We should think of this as an opportunity to be refined by the Lord. I praise the Lord that the fire damage was not as bad as we first thought.

The building is not a total loss and appears to be repairable with a great deal of work and finances. We are already talking with some reputable disaster recovery companies.

We will be meeting with the fire inspector and insurance adjuster this morning. This should answer a lot of questions about the adjustments that will need to take place for our services and other planned programs. We will inform the congregation through phone notifications and emails. Pray for God to use this for His glory and that we would benefit from the 'sifting' the Lord intends for us. Great is His Faithfulness!

There is coming a day when all things will "melt with a fervent heat." With this thought in mind, the Lord challenges us with the question, "what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness" (2 Pet 3:10-11). "Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen!" (Rom 15:33)

Carl Wood, Pastor


December 13, 2011
  • Inspections were done by the fire department, the insurance adjuster, and Horry County Code Enforcement.

  • Our building is deemed uninhabitable and unusable until repaired.

  • Partial usage of the building within a few weeks is dismissed as an option.  The end of March 2012 is the target to be back in.

December 12, 2011
  • A fire began in the afternoon after everyone had left the building.

  • A small refrigerator in the infant nursery is suspected to have contributed to the fire's start.