Two-alarm fire at church in Heights ruled accidental

We took a tour of the damage and spoke to one man who first came to this church when he was a newborn more than 70 years ago
March 27, 2014 2:48:53 PM PDT
A day after a two-alarm fire spread through an historic church in the Heights on Wednesday, we got to see just how much damage was done and we now know what caused the fire at heights Presbyterian church.

Members of the small congregation have started to gather. We learned Thursday the fire was accidental and possibly due to an electrical short.

Just 24 hours after we saw a fire rip apart the Heights Presbyterian Church building, church elder Terry Myers buried his sorrow for a couple of minutes to show us what's left of the century-old building.

"This is a lot of heartache for a lot of people," Myers said.

Upstairs, where Sunday schools were once held, is destroyed.

"It's very destructive. It hurt to see," 72-year-old Joe Lamb said.

The hurt for Lamb runs deep. He was baptized here, met his wife in the church, and the room they first met is now charred and soiled in soot and water. The altar where they made their commitment was spared but now reeks of smoke.

"The older you get the more emotional you get," he said.

"It will hit them the hardest because they've been here longest, and they have a lot invested in it," Myers said.

The woman's clothing donation area, the newer Sunday school classrooms are soaked in water. Upstairs on the eastern side of the building, the ceiling tiles of a karate gym fell, turning the area into a mess.

Yet even in the destruction, Myers says the church will rise again.

"This is going to bring us back together, bring more people in. It's going to bring people to Jesus and that's what we are all about. This building means nothing. It's just stuff. We'll replace it," he said.

The church does have insurance and adjusters have come out to see the damage. Meanwhile, they will be working to get all of the smoke out of the sanctuary.

Find Foti on Facebook at ReporterFotiKallergis or on Twitter at @FotiKallergis

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