HAGERMAN, Idaho — The pastor of the church in Hagerman that caught fire and collapsed Friday night said it is painful to see, but he is staying optimistic for the future.
"This is shocking news to me and I wasn't expecting it, especially when I wasn't able to do anything," Hagerman Christian Center Pastor, Isaac Tellez said.
Tellez is currently in Yucatan, Mexico on a service trip to help build churches, missionary housing and a school. He could only watch videos and look at pictures of the flames that were sent to his phone.
He was alerted about the fire by his nephew who called him on the phone Friday night.
"I said, 'call 911. Make sure everyone is out of the building. Don't worry about anything right now. It's about making sure that no one is hurt,'" Tellez said.
Pastor Tellez said he praises God that no one was injured. He said their main priority at the moment is trying to figure out ways they can continue to hold services and programs. Tellez said the 30-year-old building was also home to Celebrate Recovery, Hagerman Dance Club, bible studies and more programs.
Even during a tragedy, he said the church and its members will get through this.
"Our love is for God, not a building," Tellez said. "Even though that building was used for the glory of God, we will continue to serve our community."
While many of the programs at the church are canceled for the foreseeable future, Hagerman Christian Center will still have a service in its parking lot at 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning. Tellez said everyone is welcome.
Pastor Tellez said they are waiting to be given the OK to look through the damages and see what exactly was destroyed in the fire. He said insurance will help cover some of the costs of the damages, so he's working on a plan to rebuild and redesign a new church.
"I think it's an opportunity for us to dream again, to plan, to envision and see what God is going to do because what's next is going to be awesome," Tellez said.
He plans to be back in Hagerman Tuesday.
"We will assess what we need to do next, but we're trusting God," Tellez said.
Multiple crews responded to the fire at the church Friday evening. Hagerman Fire Protection District Chief ,Tim Peterson, told KTVB late Friday the fire had impacted 70-75% of the church.
The Idaho State Fire Marshal's Office investigated the church fire Saturday and determined it was caused by a landscaping accident.
"Prior to the structure fire, a member of the congregation was sprucing up the landscaping for Sunday Services with the use of a weed burner and an errant ember smoldered unnoticed at the base of the wooden siding. Evidence at the scene and a series of interviews support this conclusion," the Fire Marshal's Office wrote on Facebook.
The Fire Marshal's Office wants to remind people that whenever they're burning weeds, especially around buildings, to have a hose ready and soak their work area after they are finished. The Office said it's also important to check local weather forecasts before any burning.
Watch more Local News:
See the latest news from around the Treasure Valley and the Gem State in our YouTube playlist: