CLINTON, Ill. (WCIA)– Fire destroyed part of a church building. It happened at Clinton Assembly of God near Mulberry and Leander Streets. Firefighters are still trying to figure out how it started.
The pastor of the church, Nick Blacklidge, said crews were already on scene when he got there. “Smoke was slowly coming out, and then that stain glass window broke. It just started billowing out. The fire started shooting out of the windows,” said Blacklidge. Firefighters say no one was in the building when they arrived. “The heat was pretty heavy, so we came out. We regrouped, and then we put out second alarm, third alarm, and however far it went. We have several departments, Bloomington, Decatur, Lincoln. We really reached out,” said Dan Ballenger, Clinton Fire Commissioner.
However, all the help still didn’t stop heavy flames from consuming the sanctuary, Sunday school rooms, and offices. “We just built part of this building. All of the hard work that people put in, and we had people standing out by the road who had been a part of building the original building in the 70’s,” said Blacklidge. However, not all was lost. Crews were able to save the gymnasium, youth chapel, and kitchen from the flames. The congregation says they are happy no one was hurt.
“God’s good. He’s good all the time. We will rebuild,” said Walden. “It’s just brick and mortar. We’ve been telling our people that our church is not a building. We are the church. Our people are the church, and now I guess we’re going to have to prove that,” said Blacklidge. A few firefighters had to be treated for heat exhaustion. The fire marshall is investigating the cause of the fire.