Following a service Sunday in a nearby backyard, members of the Morinville Baptist Church congregation gathered at the site of their church, which is now charred rubble after a fire Saturday morning.
“Right now we’re just pumping water out of the basement, so we can get in there and investigate,” Morinville deputy fire chief Ken Thiemann said Sunday afternoon.
A cause has yet to be determined, but it is believed the blaze started in the church’s kitchen, he added.
Damages are currently estimated at $1 million.
Pastor Bill Wicks arrived on scene around 6 a.m. Saturday, and remained there while firefighters from Morinville and Legal battled the flames, and then as residents and church members came by to see what was left. In all, he estimates he was at the church, along with a deacon, for about eight hours.
“We got to talk to many, many people,” he said. “There were many questions.”
One that remains is whether the church will be rebuilt, and if so, at the same location.
“Given the time of year, we would have to probably wait until spring to really do very much,” said Wicks. “At this point, we’re discussing what we’re going to do.”
Founding pastor Howard Killick, who made a speech and led a prayer at the burned site following the Sunday service, said the building may have burned down, but the church is very much alive.
“It’s a wonderful, gospel message that we have to give,” he said. “This can’t stop it. We just have to look a little higher.”
By the numbers
- A total of about 25 firefighters battled the fire Saturday morning.
- Between 40 and 50 church members gathered Sunday morning in a backyard for a service, and then at the site of the church.
- Morinville is about 35 kilometres north of Edmonton, and 20 kilometres north of St. Albert.