Two hours after firefighters got the call, heavy smoke could still be seen pouring from the eaves of the First Baptist Church on Canal Road.

The smell of smoke late last night may have been the start of the blaze that heavily damaged the sanctuary.

“I peeked in there,” says pastor John Price. “It’s a pretty big loss.”

Price says he left Monday night around 5:30 and everything was fine. Twelve hours later firefighters were fighting a stubborn blaze and hampered by the metal roof.

“Certainly it is shocking news and it’s sad news but at the same time, to see the wonderful support of the community, of our church family, folks offering to do whatever they can do,” says Price.

By mid-morning the state fire marshal along with ATF was on scene searching for what started all this. “There is no obvious signs of anything suspicious,” says Orange Beach interim Fire Chief Justin Pearce.

“These kind of things, you deal with. It can be a rallying point or a very positive thing. Opportunities for a new day” says Price. “We’ll deal with the sadness but we will celebrate the opportunity to do some new things and to move forward.”

Already the congregation is coming together and getting ready for Wednesday night services in the old worship center that sits in the shadow of the building that has been a part of Orange Beach since 1995.

While the sanctuary has major structural damage, the education classrooms and business offices only suffered smoke damage.