The historic Wise County Church burned down, leaving only bibles and a cross

WISE COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) A historic church that stood for more than 120 years in the rural county of Wise, south of Bridgeport, burned down on Friday.

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The remains of the Balsora Baptist Church, which burned down on Friday, June 17, 2022.

Nick Starling / CBSDFW.com


According to the Wise County Fire Marshal, no one was at the Balsora Baptist Church at the time, but several first aid workers received minor heat-related injuries. One was also injured by falling debris.

Sonny Smith, the pastor of the church, could not believe what he saw when he visited the place where his church burned down. “Many memories, many broken hearts.”

The remains of a piano, which Smith said “plays for us every week,” stand among the rubble of bricks, and the tree is a piano.

The only surviving items? Piles of charred bibles and a cross.

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The only items that survived the fire were piles of bibles and a cross.

Nick Starling / CBSDFW.com


“This cross is where we got small pieces of paper with string, and everyone put all the family members and different people they wanted to pray for, and we hung them on that cross,” Smith said. “It is an absolute miracle that this cross managed to pass through the fire when it did nothing else.

Smith said they were renovating the scholarship room to expand the kitchen, but when the crews left for lunch on Friday, the flames flared.

“They came back, there was a fire, and they tried to put it out, but they just couldn’t get it out,” Smith added.

Smith said the church has insurance and is confident it will rise from the ashes.

“We know that the next chapter will be great for Balsora Baptist Church because we know the author and we trust him and we know he will translate for us.”

Smith said his congregation would meet at the three-cross church on Sunday morning to pray and sing.

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