It may be months before
investigators determine the cause of roof trusses collapsing Feb. 18 at Mount
Vernon Baptist Church in Clinton.
The incident killed one
construction worker and put two others in the hospital.
“There’s just a lot of
speculation as to what went wrong,” said Tony Rackley, chairman of the church’s
board of deacons. “It’s too early to tell. Any time you’re doing a building
project and there’s loss of life it’s sad.”
Rackley addressed the church
Feb. 21 during the worship service. There was special prayer time for the two
injured men and the family who lost a loved one.
“They’ve given the
contractors the green light to get in there and clear the trusses out,” Rackley
said Feb. 22 in a phone interview.
The new structure will
include a sanctuary, pastor’s study and several rooms that will be designated
When it is complete it will be connected to the other buildings on the
The area that collapsed is where the cathedral ceiling is,
The trusses on the flat ceiling part were not damaged, but there
was some minor exterior wall damage. The building and planning committee wants
to do something permanent to recognize the loss of life at the facility.
Rackley said it will most likely be a plaque.
“If I could choose a cause
to this I would pick the wind and move on,” Rackley said, indicating the
incident has been tough for all involved. “Your heart goes out to all of them.”
Rackley praised Clifton
Halso, the general contractor on the project, for his “50 years of impeccable
service. It’s very unfortunate for his company.”
Halso slipped into the
church over the weekend and left an envelope at the church. Halso made a
donation with a note thanking “the church for everybody being so nice and for
understanding,” Rackley said.
Rackley said the goal is to
finish building before the church’s 100th anniversary in October.
He’s thankful for all the
“I know just as soon as it happened I began to get calls from area
churches offering” to help, he said.