LAFAYETTE COUNTY, Miss — A massive fire broke out at the College Hill Presbyterian Church in Oxford, Mississippi, Saturday night, prompting a large response from both the Lafayette County Fire Department and the Oxford Fire Department.
According to Lafayette County Fire, around 11 p.m. Saturday night, a 911 call came in regarding a possible fire at the church, saying there were flames visible from the back of the building.
Crews arrived to find the church fully engulfed in flames. Firefighters battled the flames in the back of the church, and when they went inside to fight the fire, they discovered it had spread to the attic, and the decision was made to get out of the building and contain the fire from the outside.
The scene was finally cleared around 3:20 a.m. Sunday, and no injuries were reported.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to Lafayette County Fire.
College Hill Presbyterian Church was built in 1846 and was the oldest church structure in Oxford, as well as the oldest Presbyterian church in all of North Mississippi.
Its history includes encampment on the grounds by Union troops of Generals Grant and Sherman during the Civil War, and the marriage of author William Faulkner. The church cemetery contains a number of unmarked Union soldiers’ graves, along with slave burial sites and many confederate soldiers’ burial sites.
The church announced they would be cancelling Sunday School and moving their regular worship services to another location.
"We encourage you to join us as we celebrate our time as a church in the beautiful sanctuary, mourn its burning, and ask for the Lord's comfort and guidance," The church said in a Facebook post last Sunday.
The church also set up a donation link on their website, and if you would like to donate, just include "relief fund" in the notes section of your donation, or, if you would like to mail a check, you can do so to 339 Co Rd 102, Oxford, MS 38655, including "relief fund" in the check's memo section.