Meridian Star

April 27, 2013

Church damaged, but services go on

By Terri Ferguson Smith / tsmith@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Members of the Marion United Methodist Church will worship in their church sanctuary as usual on Sunday despite a fire that damaged the back side of the building on Friday morning.

    The Rev. George Pugh, pastor, said a man was cutting grass near the church building when the riding mower he was using caught fire for no apparent reason.

    "The mower caught on fire right at the back door here. He came to my door at the parsonage and knocked, asking about something to get the fire out with," Pugh said.

    Pugh brought out a small fire extinguisher but their efforts to extinguish the blaze were unsuccessful. That's when they decided to call the fire department. Pugh also quickly took three gas cans from a small plastic shed, which ended up melting.

    Soon the blaze spread to the roof over the walkway.

    Scott Stokes, chief of the Marion Volunteer Fire Department, said it took about 10 minutes to get the fire under control.

    "The damage is to the back of the church, the awning that goes over the walkway," Stokes said. "A small plastic shed also melted,"

There was a little smoke damage in the church and the garage to the house, he added.

    Marion, Russell and Northeast volunteer firefighters responded to the fire, he said.

    "And a lot of good friends who just happened to stop by," Stokes said.

    The pastor was grateful for the quick response and work of the firefighters.

    "If we didn't have volunteer firefighters, it would be a disaster," Pugh said. "We're grateful for all the equipment they have and the time and effort they put in to assist the community."

    Clean up will be under way today, so services will be held as usual at 11 a.m. in the church sanctuary on Sunday. Pugh said Sunday school will also be held, but in different areas of the church.