Huge Lorain church fire closes nearby elementary school - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Huge Lorain church fire closes nearby elementary school

Lorain church on fire. (Source: WOIO) Lorain church on fire. (Source: WOIO)
Firefighters at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lorain. (Source: WOIO) Firefighters at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lorain. (Source: WOIO)
Firefighters at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lorain. (Source: WOIO) Firefighters at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lorain. (Source: WOIO)
Firefighters at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lorain. (Source: WOIO) Firefighters at First Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lorain. (Source: WOIO)
Elementary students evacuated from school, due to church fire. (Source: WOIO) Elementary students evacuated from school, due to church fire. (Source: WOIO)
LORAIN, OH (WOIO) -

Multiple fire departments responded to a large church fire in Lorain. The blaze began around 6:45 a.m. at the First Evangelical Lutheran Church at 603 Washington Ave. A nearby elementary school was closed, as a result.

Although the cause of the fire remains under investigation, Fire Chief Tom Brown said the fire started at least an hour earlier in the basement, where the kitchen is located.

"Unfortunately, the fire just had too good of a head start. As you can see, we're going to be mopping up, you know, hot spots and try to see what we can salvage from the church," said Brown.

The church has been a pillar in the community for 90 years. Members consoled each other as they gazed at the charred remains of their second home.

Former Pastor Woody Chamberlain said the congregation is grieving, but continuing their work helping others.

"We're already contacting other congregations to see if we can't use their sites for the food program," said Chamberlain.

There are no reported injuries, but the church has suffered heavy damage, including broken windows, and a burned out roof and sanctuary. Also destroyed was the rare Brombaugh pipe organ.

The congregation plans to move forward and have service in the parking lot on Sunday morning. It's rain or shine, so bring your lawn chair.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, a former member at First Lutheran Church in Lorain, released a statement following this morning's fire at the church:

"First Lutheran has served Lorain County families for 90 years. Pastor Woody and Pastor Jimmy have provided personal support to hundreds of families, including mine, emboldening our faith and enriching our lives. My family's 10 years at First Lutheran revealed to us a church committed to helping the community around it, and nurturing the community within.

"On a personal note, First Lutheran and its kind congregation provided a place of solace and comfort for me – and for my daughters, Emily and Elizabeth – during my many years as a single father. This morning, even as the church continued to smolder, congregants gathered near the grounds to discuss how to continue feeding those in need and when they can begin the hard work of restoring their beloved church. That is the spirit of First Lutheran."

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