Kannapolis church fire not intentionally set, chief says

The fire at Grace Baptist Church in Kannapolis.
The fire at Grace Baptist Church in Kannapolis. WBTV

A fire that engulfed Grace Baptist Church in Kannapolis on Saturday morning does not appear to have been intentionally set, Fire Chief Ernie Hiers told Observer news partner WBTV.

The fire started about 5:40 a.m., and firefighters had it under control just after 7 a.m., the station reported. Massive flames and heavy smoke came from the roof, part of which collapsed. The exact cause has not been determined, officials said.

The church is on East 11th Street on the Rowan County side of Kannapolis.

A fire investigator from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was helping local fire officials determine the origin and cause, ATF spokesman Gerod King told the Observer. ATF investigators routinely assist local departments investigating commercial and church fires, King said.

Salisbury and Concord firefighters helped Kannapolis fire crews control the fire.

Grace Baptist has been in the community for 75 years, WSOC-TV reported.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak