Thursday, December 7, 2023

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Repair crew accidentally sets fire to historic church in Burlington; $30,000 damage before fire quickly controlled

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Firefighters from two blocks away arrive within minute of fire call

A mishap during a repair project apparently ignited a fire that damaged an historic church building in Burlington this week.

According to the city’s fire department, structural components within the attic of this church at 415 South Church Street (the First Christian Church UCC) were inadvertently set ablaze while workers were making repairs below the building’s roof on Tuesday afternoon.

“The cause of the fire was determined to be accident,” the department added in a subsequent news release. “Hot materials from the work being done…were determined to have ignited combustible structural components on the building.”

The fire department notes that one of its crews arrived on the scene within a minute of the emergency call from the workers. (The church is two blocks from the city’s main fire station downtown at 215 South Church Street.)  By that point, light smoke was already wafting out the building, although the fire itself was apparently modest in scale.

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The fire department notes that it took “a considerable amount of time” to extinguish this blaze as firefighters struggled to access the historic building and labored to keep the fire from spreading beyond the area where it broke out. In the end, the damage to the historic edifice was estimated to be around $30,000.

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