KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Just before 2 a.m. Sunday, someone reported a fire at the Wyandotte Tabernacle Church in Kansas City, Kansas.
KCK firefighters responded within two minutes. It took them almost four hours to extinguish the flames. Two firefighters were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Investigators say they have determined that a piece of musical equipment in the sanctuary of the church caused the fire.
Senior Pastor Mark Sanders estimates 95% of the building is destroyed but added "as long as there is breath, there's always hope."
Sanders said a firefighter called him around 2:50 a.m. to tell him the church building was on fire. Sanders said he could see the fire from nearly two miles away as he drove from his home.
Just a day earlier, Sanders said, his congregation opened up a food pantry to serve the community. He said the congregation gave food to 871 people on Saturday. The flames ate at the nearly 60 year old building for four hours.
"When you leave here and shut the gate and everything is in tact," Sanders said as he stood in front of the charred rubble. "And the next time you show up, everything's in flames. It's just a little bit overwhelming and shocking."
Almost a week ago, Sanders had prepared his Sunday sermon.
"My preparation for this morning's service was found in 1 Corinthians Chapter 10, verse 13," he told FOX4 on Sunday. "It says that God will not put anything on you more than you can bear. My title this morning was simply 'Tried by the Fire".
He continued, "I went to bed last night not knowing what was going to transpire."
The ATF is involved because the fire occurred at a House of Worship. The Kansas State Fire Marshall and the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department are also involved. Roughly 12 investigators will be at the church site for at least another day.
"This fire investigation," Jon Ham said, spokesperson for the ATF, "like all of our investigations, starts with everything on the table and then as evidence allows us, we start ruling things out."
On Sunday morning, a dog was out, sniffing for chemical evidence in the fire's wreckage.
"With a fire that burns this long and this hot," explained Ham. "A lot of what we need to make our determination burns up in that process."
Yet amid all the ash, Sanders said, "That's our plan: to be a light in this community, to affect this community, even greater in the future than we have in the past."
He added, "we can conquer anything. And that there's hope in God."