CLAREMORE, Oklahoma - Firefighters worked into the night to put out the flames at a Claremore church Thursday.

Crews responded to the Redeemer Lutheran Church at 5th and Seminole around 5:15 p.m.

About 30 firefighters, three fire engines and a ladder truck were used to battle the fire.

People on their way home followed fire trucks into their neighborhood to find their church on fire; many members couldn’t believe what they saw.

"I was very upset,” said church member Debbie Hendrix. “I started thinking about growing up in this church...so it's sad, really sad. Breaks your heart."

Church members heard the news about the fire and rushed to be with their friends in fellowship.

Jan Belcher said, "I'm thankful, for the moment, that the current sanctuary is safe, so we still have a place to attend during the Christmas season."

Pastor Mark Burger is about to retire and said he’s sad, but knows it's just material things that burned; the church community he's lead is still together.

"It's a tragedy. We have plans to build already, so that's going to move up," he said. “There's a lot of history in there, of course, and that's some of the stuff that will be missed."

Hendrix said, "The church really isn't about the building, it's the people that go there. So we're the church, and nobody got hurt."

Lots of roads surrounding the church are blocked off because of the hoses.

The fire chief says the fire started in an older part of the church.  

Church officials say the sanctuary in the back of the building was spared.