Fundraising, cleanup begin after fire at Liberty Hill church building

Williamson County

LIBERTY HILL, Texas (KXAN) — A church in Liberty Hill may have lost one of its buildings in a destructive fire, but it’s since gained a lot of community support for the recovery. 

A fire on May 11 destroyed the two-story stone building that housed offices, a fellowship hall and a preschool at the Cross Tracks Church at 101 Church Street. 

Pastor John Saint stood outside the fencing that now surrounds the perimeter of the building on Friday. He said no one has been able to go inside yet because the structure is too unstable and dangerous after walls and floors collapsed in the fire. 

“We’re hoping to still be able to pull out some historical documents and papers and things that we need from fire safes and that sort of thing,” Saint said. “We’re hoping we’re able to find some mementos of all that we’ve lost, just as a keepsake at this point.” 

This week someone started an online fundraiser through GoFundMe to help the church rebuild. The building is a total loss. The church will have to bring in a crane to carefully demolish the building so that it doesn’t collapse further and damage the historic chapel next door built in 1858. 

“Hopefully twelve months from now, we are enjoying our rebuilt facilities,” Saint said. 

One of the most pressing things will be finding a new space for the Sonshine Friends Preschool to operate in the fall.

“That’s three months away,” Saint said, “and that’s a very short time period in order to accomplish all the things that we need to do in order to be running again in the fall.” 

The fire happened days before the latest group of students was set to graduate. The Liberty Hill Independent School District provided a space for the ceremony to happen and lent caps and gowns to the 18 boys and girls since their own graduation attire burned in the fire. 

“We’re thankful that it was the last week of school and that [the fire] happened on a Saturday so that school was not in session,” the pastor said. 

Two local restaurants are hosting fundraisers to benefit the preschool. Between 4 and 8 p.m. on May 21, Major’s Burger Company in Liberty Hill will donate 10 percent of its sales to the preschool. Then, on May 23, the local Dairy Queen plans to do the same thing from 7 to 8 p.m. 

The preschool also created a wish list on Amazon so that people can buy items to replace everything destroyed in the fire. 

The church plans to return to the chapel this Sunday for the first services since the fire. 

“God is not finished with Cross Tracks Church,” Saint said, laughing. 

The Liberty Hill Fire Department told KXAN on Friday that the cause of the fire is still under investigation. 

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