LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - It took nearly 60 firefighters to put out a fire at a vacant building in Smoketown in November. It happened on the 900 block of South Preston Street, right next to Spradling Memorial AME Zion Church.
Local firefighters stopped flames from spreading over the fence. Members from Louisville Fire and Rescue praised and worshiped with members of the church Sunday that they helped saved.
PREVIOUS STORY: Fire crews extinguish structure fire in Smoketown neighborhood
Major Bobby Cooper remembers the breezy day that put the structures next door at high risk.
"You can see a calm of smoke from downtown,” Cooper said.
Louisville Fire & Rescue had to call in nearly 60 firefighters to take out the flames.
While they went to work, Reverend Steven L. Walker watched and prayed that his church next door would come out of the day still standing.
"It would have been devastating, but God had better things in mind for us,” Walker said.
The fire caused Spradling Memorial to move out of the sanctuary for four weeks, but it never stopped having service.
During Sunday worship, the same firefighters that battled the flames in November returned to the church. Instead of working on the outside, they stepped in, opened bibles and were recognized for what they saved.
“We understand the importance of place of worship like temples, mosques, churches, synagogues, we get it,” Cooper said. “To be a part of it and knew we saved something that’s such a fabric of the community means a lot to us.”
Members acknowledged the firefighters, prayed over and awarded them for their daily bravery.
"It’s not often you see the fruits of your labor and that you then get a pat on the back and a thank you for it,” Cooper said.
Cooper said his team has trained for years to be prepared for that day in November. Whether it was divine intervention mixed with skill he couldn’t say, but knows his team would give its all to anyone who puts in a call.