A fire has destroyed the historical Somers Congregational United Church of Christ in Somers Connecticut, leaving members in disbelief.
A fire broke out in the basement of the church at 12:37 a.m. Monday morning, according to the News Times. Firefighters reportedly received a call about smoke in the center of town. The smoke, which came from the basement, quickly turned into a fire that engulfed the church in less than 30 minutes.
Gary Schiessel, Firefighter Chief, said that the fire traveled to the main portion of the church.
“Within a short period of time that fire had wrapped itself up into the main portion of the church,” Shissel said. “…and within 25 or 30 minutes the church had actually collapsed because it was fully engulfed in fire.”
Crews had to attack the fire from outside because the two-alarm fire was too dangerous to have crews inside the building, according to NECN. They battled and contained the flames from a nearby home.
“I have lived in this town for virtually my whole life, I’ve been a firefighter for many years. It was the biggest one I’ve ever seen,” Schiessel said.
No one was in the church at the time and firefighters are not sure what could have started the fire. The church told people through its Facebook account that there would be a prayer service at noon, Monday.
Chief Sciessel said he never thought he would see Somers Congregational burn down.
“There’s two buildings in town I thought I would never see burn,” Chievel said, according to News Times. “One was the church here and Somers INN down the street…unfortunately one of those is now gone.”
The Somers Conn. State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigation the fire.
“It’s not only a church where people go every Sunday to pray. It has many community activities as well and I’m sure that will be missed,” Schiessel said.
Members of the congregation are unsure how they will move forward. The Somers Congregational church is an iconic figure in the town, dating back to 1840. The congregation goes all that way back to 1727.