"There was smoke and heat all over," he said.
With about 24 firefighters working, the fire was out in about four hours, he said.
Retterath remained on scene through the afternoon, assisting a federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent and a state fire marshal with the investigation.
The cause of the fire was unknown Monday.
No one was at the church at the time of the fire, so no one was hurt, Retterath said. Judging by the amount of damage, the fire "had to have been burning for a while" before the first call, he said.
"I think everyone is pretty heartbroken," said Tory Hart, council president for the church.
The about 900-member congregation is fortunate, though, Hart said, because its members are strong and working toward recovery.
Faith Lutheran Church's council met Monday and designated a building committee to handle the fire's aftermath, including possibly repairing and rebuilding, Hart said.
Written by Jamestown Sun