Church members arrived Sunday, May 18, 2014 to find the 50+ year old building destroyed and embers still burning.Pastor John McCullough was out of town when the fire occurred and said at the time, “One of my church goers called me, and said, ‘John, the church is on fire!’ and started sending me pictures,” McCullough said. “I could tell from the pictures that it was going to be pretty bad.”The fire gutted the building at the corner of Daleville Avenue and Old Highway 134. Firefighters spent hours battling the blaze. The Daleville Fire Department received assistance from Level Plains, Fort Rucker, Clayhatchee, Newton and Pinckard.The fire never stopped the church members from doing what they felt they were meant to do. While firefighters continued to spray water on the smoldering debris, church members held services under a nearby shade tree.McCullough said then, “That very day, a friend of mine from Dothan was supposed to come up and preach for me. He came on up, and about 20 people gathered up and had church. We never missed a beat.” The church met for several weeks at the Daleville Cultural and Community Center, before leasing a former storefront a block west of the original church location.McCullough said the new building will be about 10,000 square feet and include four classrooms, office space, a sanctuary and fellowship hall. He said the former building was built in the 1960s and had been added onto three different times. The new structure, he said, will full face Daleville Avenue as opposed to the corner so the limited grounds space the church has can be utilized better.Daleville Police Chief Harvey Mathis said Monday that the case remains open and has never been determined by his department or the State Fire Marshall to be arson. At this time, the fire is still classified as “suspicious” and the case remains open.Meanwhile, McCullough said, “It’s been a long haul with several roadblocks along the way. We are looking forward to being in our new building.”
Construction crews from a Dothan contractor have begun digging up the old foundation of the First United Methodist Church in Daleville. The church burned down in May 2014. Completion of a new facility is expected in late summer or early fall of this year.