Water pipes burst inside Antioch Temple of Hope on Friday, flooding the multilevel downtown Muskogee church from top to bottom.
Pastor Marlon Coleman said it appears the frozen water lines were part of the fire suppression system. He learned about the burst water lines after a passerby reported water spilling from a second-story window.
The stunned pastor expressed skepticism initially. That skepticism washed away after a church staffer arrived to find water pouring from pipes on the structure's third floor.
"If you stand inside this building now, it's raining — on every floor it looks like it's raining," Coleman said when he arrived at the church about 6 p.m. Friday. "It's sadly getting worse — part of the drop-ceiling on the first floor just collapsed."
Coleman moved his congregation in 2015 to its 32,000-square-foot worship campus at 500 W. Broadway. Expressing a sense of shock, the lead pastor said he never has seen "anything like this in my life."
"It's going to take a few days just for all of this water to drain out," Coleman said. "This is a mess — we're going to need all the help we can get."
Coleman, who shared video images of him wading through ankle-deep water inside the church, estimated the damage will exceed $100,000. The church, he said, has insurance to cover much of the damage.
He plans to conduct Sunday services in the parking lot outside the church.