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Pastor stays positive despite devastating damage to Nappanee church

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 6:52 PM EDT
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NAPPANEE, Ind. (WNDU) - Just one day after First Church of God in Nappanee caught fire, pastor Sam Bennett is trying to figure out how to pick up all the pieces.

“This morning we’re up and we got our insurance company here, adjusters, making contacts, investigation still ongoing,” Bennett told 16 News Now Monday.

Inside the church, ceilings caved in, classrooms covered in water and smoke damage, light fixtures on the floor, and the sanctuary seized by fallen debris.

“The fire was up in the attic and so actually, you couldn’t see the fire. When we discovered, all we discovered was the smoke coming through the ceiling. And even then, a couple of us ran and said let’s get some fire extinguishers but the smoke was so thick,” Bennett says.

All 50 people attending Sunday school and service at the time of the fire were able to evacuate the building safely. On Monday, many others throughout the community continue to reach out to Bennett to hopefully get First Church of God back to where it used to be.

“We have had great support from our community. Pastors, churches all are stepping up saying hey, if you want to use our facilities, our equipment, we’ll donate it, we’ll allow you to use it. We’re really blessed,” Bennett says.

He is also thankful that despite the devastation this fire left behind, the faith of folks who help build the church, still stands strong.

“Today, I’m investigating some places we can worship next Sunday. We’ll definitely worship whether it’s outside or in other facilities, but the church will gather and we will be together,” Bennett says.

Fire investigators have not determined what caused the fire at this time. Stick with us on-air and online as we continue to follow this developing story.

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