BRAZORIA COUNTY Billowing black smoke could be seen rising from the belly of a gutted church near Rosharon Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities said the blaze, which began in a shed, spread to the Houston Tamil Church and leveled the sanctuary.

Witnesses who live nearby described a frightening scene.

It was just billowing smoke everywhere, said Brandy Bratt who recorded video with her cell phone. I was a little afraid for my kids because I didn t know what it was that was burning. I didn t know if I would need to get out of here.

Firefighters from several jurisdictions needed about two hours to bring it under control. But by then, the church founded in 1994, had been totally destroyed. The building was empty at the time.

Today is very sad for our community, said Rev. Duraimony Dickson.

He said he was leaning on faith while taking comfort in the fact that no one was hurt.

God will help us, added Dickson. That is our prayer.

Investigators were looking into reports that someone was burning trash in the area. The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

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