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Posted December 3, 2013 EST

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Fire Destroys Church In Northern Carroll County
United States (Maryland) - A church in Carroll County with a 160-year-old congregation was destroyed in a fire early Tuesday morning, but church leaders promised they would rebuild. At around 4 a.m., a neighbor across the street from Lazarus United Church of Christ, in the 5100 block of S. Church Street in Lineboro, noticed flames coming out of the back of the building and called 911, said Bruce Bouche, a senior deputy state fire marshal. By the time firefighters had the fire under control a couple of hours later, the building was declared a total loss, with damages estimated at $1 million.

No one was injured.

Pastor Sam Chamelin, who lives about a quarter of a mile from the church, said he got a call from a church member telling him the church was on fire and started heading over. His phone hadn't stopped ringing since.

"I could see the glow over the houses and just had a sick feeling," said Chamelin, who has been the pastor there for seven years. "Everybody says these things are heart-wrenching. They really are. There's a lot of tears, a lot of pain, but a lot of strength."

Joan Waugh, the president of the church council whose husband gets up early for work, was one of those to call the pastor.

"We noticed there was an orange glow in the window and when we looked outside we saw it," she said.

The Gothic Revival structure was built in 1908, according to records filed with the state requesting it be added to the historic registry. The congregation itself dates back to 1853.

The church was built before sprinklers were required.

"Churches can be rebuilt," said Bouche. "When this one is rebuilt at least it'll have sprinklers."

By 5 a.m., church members had begun to line the streets near the church. Church officials have a prayer vigil planned for Tuesday evening at the Lineboro fire hall, according to the church's social media accounts.

Every church within a 15-mile radius has offered to let the Lazarus congregation use their buildings, Chamelin said.

"We will rebuild," he said. "We have a congregation that loves one another and loves God. We'll see where we're worshiping this Sunday. We're definitely worshiping Sunday."

Written by Baltimore Sun

Courtesy of NewsEdge
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