Bishop, worshipers devastated by fire that scorched historic KC church

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A church in east Kansas City that has stood for more than 50 years was severely damaged by fire overnight. On Monday morning, cleanup began at Kingdom Word Ministries.

Abdul Abdelnassar barely recognized his church even though he’s been a member for seven years.

“It still hasn’t sunk in,” he said as he shook his head.

A fire sparked in the basement of the building. Neighbors noticed and called 911. Firefighters arrived just before 4 a.m., which was about the same time Bishop Eric Morrison was notified.

“My mind went blank, I want to cry right now,” he told FOX 4's Judy Le. “Smoke just gushing out of the windows, fire trucks everywhere, just a devastating view of the church.”

The church was gearing up to celebrate Morrison’s 14th year as pastor, but will have to postpone plans. Despite the loss, members of the church are pulling together.

“For something like this to just go down, it's just unbelievable,” said Abdelnassar. “It's extremely sad. This church does a lot for the community.”

The basement was used in different ways – a food pantry, Sunday school, and general gathering space. Though the walls are scorched and the building a total loss, the memories will never fade.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. Members are looking for other possible locations to hold services.