PUGWASH – After fire destoyed a church in Pugwash, residents say the historic structure will be missed.
“The call came in at 9:42 a.m., and we left at about 2 p.m.,” said Andy Yarrow, chief of the Pugwash Fire Department.
By the time fire fighters arrived on the scene smoke was pouring forth from the structure and flames could be seen coming from the building.
Another historic church was sitting next door to the church that was on fire.
“The biggest thing was to knock the fire down as quick as we could because a lot of embers were coming off of there and coming towards the United Church,” said Yarrow.
The structure had to be knocked down before fire fighters left the scene.
“It was dismantled by an excavator because we had to get the fire out from behind the walls.”
The cause of the fire has not yet been established.
“The insurance company and the fire marshal are looking into it,” said Yarrow.
One fire fighter was hurt during the fire.
“He slipped on the wet deck of the vehicle and fell,” said Yarrow. “He’ll miss work for three or four weeks.”
The Church was built in 1920 and was sold about a year ago. It was being renovated for use as a daycare, a youth drop-in centre and a community centre.
Shirley Cummings is a resident of Pugwash and she took pictures of the church while firefighters were on the scene.
“The church has memories, especially for people who attended the church,” said Cummings. “They reconciled themselves to losing the church about a year ago but at least the church was there.
“It was comforting knowing the building was there and it was going to be used for a community effort as a daycare.”
The new centre was scheduled to open in the spring and Cumming said she’s not sure what will happen now.
“I feel really badly for the people who owned it because they put so much work into it and I know my grand-nephew and grand-niece were going to go there when it opened,” she said. “I have no idea what the children are going to do now. People were really looking forward to it because daycare is at a premium around here.”
The Shinimicas, Oxford and Wallace fire departments also helped fight the fire.
Lisa Betts, a resident of Pugwash, is also a fire fighter with the Wallace fire department and a clerk for the Village of Pugwash. She was on the scene to help battle the fire.
“It’s very sad to see an important historical building like this burn to the ground,” said Betts. “It stood in service for nearly 100 years and in a couple of hours it was gone.”
She said people are in shock by the building’s demise.
“It had so much potential. It was being renovated to be used by young people and had a great future ahead of it,” she said. “It’s a real shame this happened before it could come to fruition.”