COSHOCTON, Ohio (WCMH) – Firefighters contained a fire Friday after it ripped through the roof of a century-old church in Coshocton.
Photos taken around 1 p.m. showed firefighters on ladders continuing to spray water into Grace Methodist Church, and flames weren’t visible anymore from the outside. Only skeletal portions of the roof remained.
“We were able to save the walls, but the roof collapsed and I’m sure everything inside’s pretty much decimated, but we’ll know better when we get inside,” said Max Crown, Coshocton Safety-Service Director.
View an uncut witness video of the fire at the church below:
Starting around 10 a.m., the fire grew big enough that the Coshocton Fire Department said it sent out multiple alarms for around 70 firefighters to respond to it. Photos sent to NBC4 showed open flames and smoke billowing out from the roof of Grace Methodist Church. Additional photos illustrated the sheer size of the columns of smoke.
The fire department has not released other details, such as a suspected cause of the church fire, as of Friday evening.
Grace Methodist Church at 422 Walnut St. has stood in town for over 100 years, according to the church’s Facebook page. Church Reverend Deb Quillen told NBC4 that no one was in the building when the fire started, since the parish takes Fridays off. She shared her reaction to the fire and what she anticipates when the group holds worship services again.
“I think Sunday, we are going to embrace one another,” Quillen said. “We are going to share memories and talk about all of the ministry that has been a part of that church through the years, so that we can begin to mourn and then begin to heal.”
Coshocton Mayor Mark Mills is one person that has special ties to the property.
“[My parents] were married here… 49 years ago yesterday, so it’s a special place to me just growing up in the church,” Mills said.
Despite the fire, the reverend said the congregation will gather for services at 10 a.m. Sunday, at the Canal Lewisville United Methodist Church.
“Even though the church building is gone, God is still with us,” Quillen said.