Local History and Genealogy

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fire Does Much Damage To Methodist Church

Pipe Organ, Furniture, Windows and Woodwork All Badly Damaged
Early Estimates Fix Loss Near $75,000
The Angola Fire Department was called again to the Methodist Church at 11:45 Thursday
because of fire breaking out in the high roof of the church,  The outcome of the third
outbreak cannot be determines at the hour of publishing this paper, but in all probability the latest
outbreak will cause almost complete loss of the inner structure and contents of the church.

Fire which apparently originated above the heating plant in the First Methodist church wrought heavy damage throughout the entire structure and contents at an early hour on Thursday morning.  Various early estimates of the probable damage range from $40,000 to as high as $100,000.

The fire was discovered at about 1;30 o'clock, although an electric wall clock stopped at 1:05, which would indicate the fire had made much progress inside the church before it was discovered.  Exact cause of the fire cannot yet be determined, and it may have originated in the coal stoked heating plant or in overloaded electric wiring.  The floor in the sanctuary of the church above the heating plant was completely burned and the interior of the church was charred by the intense heat although damage to the overhead structural construction
 is probably confined to the seared finish of the woodwork.  The large pipe organ in the church is probably a total loss, and replacement at present values will probably cost in excess of $10,000.  Some of the fine art glass windows, particularly the circular top windows were completely destroyed, and these are probably irreplaceable.  The entire woodwork and furniture, including the pews, within the church will require complete refinishing.  The fine carpeting was also badly damaged by smoke and water and actual burning in places.

The church had but recently put in many improvements, particularly in the basement rooms, with new tile floors and redecorating and the full extent of the damage in all of the departments of church cannot yet be fully determined.

The Angola fire department was again called to the church at 8:15 on Thursday because of fire having again broken out about the large chimney in the upper part of the church.  This damage however, was relatively insignificant.  The point of actual beginning of the fire cannot be determined.  No meeting had been held in the church during the evening, but slow fire had been  maintained in the heating plant as was the usual practice.  Rev. J.W. Borders, the minister of the church, states that he had been accustomed  to going into the church nightly to see that everything was in order, and that in his usual visit he detected nothing wrong about the church.

The loss and inconvenience to the congregation of Methodists is especially severe at this time, because of the extra heavy program of church activities.  The board of stewards of the church announced a meeting at 10:00 o'clock Thursday forenoon to plan action both as regards to the church meetings and reconstruction problems.  The First Christian Church and the First Congregational church through their ministers and the official boards promptly tendered use of their church properties to the Methodist congregation for their services.  The board tentatively arranged for regular sessions of the Sunday School and church service in the Angola High School building.  Sunday School classes will be held in the school class rooms and the church worship service will be held in the auditorium.

Herald Republican Friday February 13, 1948