A ruptured sprinkler main flooded a 146-year-old North Texas church, sending children scrambling and leaving members of the congregation in knee-deep water.
Ash Creek Baptist Church in Azle is still trying to dry out after the weekend ordeal.
“I doubt many people have experienced anything like this,” the Rev. Wesley Shotwell said.
“We are told there were several thousand gallons a minute coming out of that pipe,” Shotwell said. “It was filling our building faster than it could go out the doors.”
The flood began just as Sunday School was starting.
“It was like an airplane flying over and not going anywhere. It was that loud,” Shotwell said.
While the sanctuary was safe, the first floor of another wing was flooded as water poured into classrooms where young children were gathered. He said luckily no one was injured.
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“As the children were gathering for Sunday School and the water began flowing into their rooms, their Sunday School lesson that day was [already planned] on Noah's Ark,” he smiled.
The halls that are normally loaded with laughter are now filled with fans trying to dry out the still-damp building.
“[There is] floor and carpet damage [and] some sheet rock damage,” he said. “We are cleaning up and I'm not sure how long that will take.”
Shotwell said in all the chaos came an eventual calm.
“We've seen how the Lord works even in really difficult times,” he said.
The congregation has joined together stronger and neighbors from other churches have rallied around the community cornerstone.
“This congregation always rises to the occasion. They have for the last 20 years, so I am not surprised they rose to the occasion this time,” Shotwell said.
It was a flood that tested the church, but their true foundation could not be wasted away.