A prominent Metro East pastor’s home burned to the ground overnight.
The property belongs to Norman Owens, the longtime pastor of East St. Louis’ oldest African-American church. He served as reverend at Macedonia Baptist for 47 years.
News 4 talked to Michael Owens, son of Norman Owens, as the family waits for fire investigators to determine the cause.
Owens said staring into his family’s home, which was completely gutted after the overnight fire, is something he can hardly describe.
“I don’t really have words. I’m just kind of speechless,” Owens said.
Fire crews were called out to 16th and Lawrence Avenue shortly after 5 a.m. Saturday.
Owens tells News 4 his mother passed away last July and his father had just moved out in May to live with his sister in Texas.
Owens’ parents built the house back in 1987, helping bring growth to this part of town.
"That's what made people start building these other houses out here. Because of this house right here,” Owens said.
Now, people passing by can't believe their eyes as they catch a glimpse of Pastor Owens' property.
"That's why it hurts me so much, because I've known this man since birth,” said Renita Crane, a lifelong member of Macedonia Baptist Church.
She said Pastor Owens has always been an important person in her life, so seeing something he worked hard for in this state hurts her.
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