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:
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