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Alberton churchgoers reflect on fire

Posted at 6:13 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 16:20:12-05

ALBERTON — One person has been arrested in connection with a Monday morning fire at the Alberton United Methodist Church.

Now, the congregation is waiting on insurance inspections and cleaning.

Board of trustees member Gary Webber said the building sustained extensive damages resulting in a smoky mess.

"Soon as it's cleaned up, we'll be back to having services," Weber said.

Since that could take months, Weber told MTN News some members of the congregation plan to attend the Superior church until then.

Frenchtown Rural Fire District spokesman Mel Holtz says crews noticed a broken window, pointing to signs of vandalism and forced entry.

The investigation was turned over to the Mineral County Sheriff's Office, and one person was arrested in relation to the fire.

No further information on the suspect has been released.

"We have an amazing group of volunteers that responded, they woke up that night from their homes and drove down and assisted,” said Holtz. “They were able to put that out very quickly."

He said the first engine arrived from Alberton and crews contained the fire to the basement, bringing the flames under control within minutes.

The building was originally built in 1912 and is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Webber said most of the damage occurred in the basement, and the biggest concern is the suspended ceiling, which will probably need to be replaced.

"There are some things that are melted, I don't know if the carpeting is going to survive or not. There's too much ash ...from the ceiling, and there were several tables and a number of chairs that melted in the fire."

He said people are already offering to help with repairs and that the building is the building, the church is the people.

Webber added that he plans to pray for the individual that has been arrested.

Initial damage costs are estimated at $50,000 and the broken windows, ceiling and carpet may need to be replaced.