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      Memphis baptist church cleans up after roof collapse

      Photo of the church taken Thursday morning

      Updated Thursday afternoon:

      Reverend Arthur George of the First Baptist Church says services this week will be held in the old church adjacent to the damaged building. The church needs to power the building up, and will use a generator with the help of the Memphis Fire Department.

      Members of the community are coming in to help move furniture from their offices which were not damaged by the collapse.

      George is hopeful that insurance will cover most of the damage to the church. The building is a total loss, but the reverend is thankful that no one was hurt.

      "The church of God is not exempt from trials. We understand that. But God blessed us in that nobody was hurt and for that we are very grateful," he says.

      For more information on how to help the church rebuild its roof, call (315) 247-7441 or visit

      This roof collapse comes on the heels of collapses at two other Central New York churches earlier this month. St. Luke's Ukrainian Church in Camillus and Hillview Community Church in Baldwinsville were also severely damaged by heavy ice and snow in the last two weeks.

      Original coverage from Wednesday evening:

      Parishioners escaped danger by just moments when the roof collapsed Wednesday evening.

      About 40 people were inside the First Baptist Church on Bennetts Corners Road in Memphis for a prayer meeting when a parishioner noticed the cracks in the ceiling seemed to be getting worse. Reverend Arthur George tells CNY Central everyone got out of the building at about 8:30 Wednesday night.

      While they were in the parking lot about 20 minutes later, they heard loud popping noises and the roof caved in. It destroyed the main hall in the church.

      Rev. Arthur George compared the sight of the collapse to the fall of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11. He said it looked like the building imploded. Property records show the building was originally constructed in 1970.

      Parishioners are planning to go through the rubble to see if anything can be saved. Rev. George says the parish is now looking ahead to rebuilding the church. An old church building located next to the damage church will be used for services this weekend.

      Memphis is a hamlet located about ten miles west of Syracuse in the Town of Van Buren.