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Church Half Empty Due to PK Lake Wildfire

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Just months after many of their congregation lost their homes, the First Baptist Church in Graford had a smaller turnout Sunday due to more grassfires. (Published Wednesday, Aug 15, 2012)

    The First Baptist church there held service Sunday morning, but half of its regular attendees weren't there because they are either dealing with the fire damage or unable to go home.

    The wildfire on the north side of Possum Kingdom Lake is now 75 percent contained but far from being put out. More than 6,500 acres have burned. Thirty-nine homes and nine RV's have been destroyed.

    The First Baptist church there held service Sunday morning, but half of its regular attendees weren't there because they are either dealing with the fire damage or unable to go home.

    The church is no stranger to the destructive wildfire. The sanctuary burned in the April fire, so worship services are being held in the gym.

    Homeowners in the path of the flames had to evacuate, including Edna Crowell, who went back to rescue her dog, as the fire tore through homes not far away.

    "I thought surely, this is not going to happen again, you know, after that first fire," said Crowell, of the Gaines Bend neighborhood. "My heart breaks for them. I just can't imagine that. But we'll survive, we'll survive."

    A smoky haze and odor still linger around the burned-out areas like this in the resort community of The Cliffs.

    "It breaks your heart to all of that and all the people that lost their homes. It's sad," said Maxine Brooks, of Mineral Wells. "Just looks like another world."

    Race Barry's mother works at The Cliffs' spa.

    "I felt nervous and stressed for my mom and everyone out there," said Barry. "I feel really, really bad because they weren't there and they had to go take care of that stuff."

    People who live around PK Lake have had a tough year of watching their belongings burn. But they will rebuild.