BALD KNOB, Ark. — 

BALD KNOB, Ark. — Investigators are trying to figure out what sparked a fire that destroyed a historic Bald Knob church Saturday morning.  

A neighbor reported seeing flames coming from the old Central Baptist Church off Elm Street. By the time firefighters got there the church hall was engulfed.

“The flames were shooting way up there for a while,” said Bob Carpenter, who lives across the street. “I hate to see it go because it was part of the history of this town.” 

Hours after crews got the flames under control, Carpenter watched the flicker of hot spots illuminating the church.  

“It could have been disastrous,” said Carpenter. “Fortunately the wind was blowing that way and it didn’t get over here.”

Serving as the city mayor for a term, Carpenter says the sanctuary has been around for nearly 60 years, but stopped services a few years ago. 

“I know people have been using it as a refugee for the homeless and you know just some place to get out of the cold,” he added. 

No one was injured in the blaze, but Carpenter knows it could have been much worse.
“I was just hoping nobody was in there, that was my main concern and we didn’t know for a long time,” he said. 

Firefighters were able to stop the fire before it reached the sanctuary portion of the building.

Velvet Ridge, Judsonia, Bradford and Russell Fire Departments assisted.