Updated:NORCROSS, Ga.,None —
Firefighters gained control of a fire that gutted a Gwinnett County church early Wednesday.
Fire crews were called toFaith Life Fellowship church on Engineering Drive near Spalding Drive in Norcross about 9:30 Tuesday night.
Mary Taylor told Channel 2's Darryn Moore she noticed the flames on her way home.
"I saw some flames shooting up from the top of the roof. The smell was overpowering as I was driving by," she said.
Gwinnett Fire Department spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge told Moore that firefighters found heavy flames in the basement, through the first and second floors and out through the roof. Rutledge also said fire crews had a hard time keeping hot embers from floating in the air to neighboring structures and trees.
The church's pastor, Nathan Ridgeway, told Moore the building was vacant.
He said the building was sold to a development group about a year ago and they planned to build a senior citizen retirement community on the property.
Ridgeway said the church held services there for 19 years.
"I've got a lot of memories here at the church," Ridgeway told Moore. "I hate to see it go down this way, its a sad moment."
Rutledge said there were signs of previous vandalism, but they did not appear related to the fire.
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