Nappanee Church catches fire during Sunday School

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NAPPANEE, Ind – The Nappanee Fire Department rushed to the church fire at 7 County Road just before 10 a.m. this morning.

Church members were in their normal Sunday school hours when they noticed the fire and had to be evacuated immediately.

“We heard a buzzer that was abnormal to us that was now most likely an electrical short,” said First Church of God Pastor Sam Bennett.

After the noise, Pastor Bennett says the internet was down and seconds later the members panicked.

“Someone yelled that there was a fire. We ran to get fire extinguishers, but it was already out of control, so we ran through the building asking everyone to come out, ”said Pastor Bennett.

Out of control but not yet decided whether the church is a total write-off.

“There are some areas of the church building that the fire is unlikely to have gotten into, but it is definitely water and smoke damage,” said Pastor Bennett.

Pastor Bennett says this church means a lot to the ward and its members because it has existed for over 100 years and people today just couldn’t believe what happened.

“I don’t know, it’s hard to put into words what you’re feeling,” said church member Jody Wakley.

The Sunday service was originally supposed to take place outside in the parking lot, but because of the cooler temperatures they moved inside.

Church members brought items to be saved to rooms that were not damaged by the fire.

Regardless of the outcome, Pastor Bennett says his eyes are on the future.

“Make plans for rebuilding. The Church has been here for over 100 years, and we will continue to serve and rebuild this ward, ”said Pastor Bennett.

Officials say this fire is unrelated to any of the recent Elkhart County fires, and they are also waiting to confirm whether this church is indeed a write-off.

Also, Pastor Bennett says they’ll be having service next Sunday, it’s just a matter of where.


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