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NEWPORT NEWS -- Parishioners are mourning the loss of the Mount GileadTabernacle Church in Newport News that was destroyed by a fire early Sunday morning

Emergency dispatchers got a call just after 4:30 a.m. about a fire in the 600 block of Ellen Road near Temple Lane.

According to Battalion Chief Jack Carper firefighters arrived on scene within 15 minutes and found Mount Gilead Tabernacle Church completely engulfed in flames.

Neighbors say a popping sound that sounded like gunfire woke them up. They didn't realize it was a fire until they got up to see what was going on.

Marilyn Smith, who lives across the street , says 'I was trying to get out to move my truck and I couldn't get out because it was too hot.'

'The steeple that's up here it was like 20 feet, the fire up in their air above the steeple.' , says Ray Narrow who lives down the street.

There have been no reports of injuries and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

David Mise, whose New LifeChurch moved from the building in 1994, came by Monday to reflect on fond old memories. 'Just a lot of things that have gone on, beautiful things within that church.' 'There's nothing left just a bunch of rubble.', he says.

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