EASTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — An almost 300-year-old church burned to the ground early Sunday morning in Eastford, according to the Woodstock Volunteer Fire Association.
Station 76 reported receiving a call at 3:25 a.m. of a structural fire at The Congregational Church of Eastford on 8 Church Rd. Extensive damage had been done to the building by the time firefighters arrived.
The deputy chief of the Eastford Independent Fire Company confirmed that there were no injuries and that the building was empty while the fire burned.
The weather delayed fire suppression efforts.
“A thunderstorm came through the area at approximately the same time as the fire — that dampers the operation a little bit, as well as power lines on the side of the building,” Eastford Fire Deputy Chief James Roy said. “So, we had to wait for Eversource to secure those lines, and that hinders the operation.”
Mike Moran, pastor of the church, released a statement about the fire on his Facebook that reads:
Hello CCE family. The church burned down early this morning. I only found out about 20 minutes ago, so no time to react yet other than to say that God is good, He is doing something good, and the church is not a building – it is all of us – His precious saints.
Please be in prayer – and standby for a plan as to how we gather later today.
in Him, Mike
According to Western Connecticut State University, where an original copy of the church’s manual resides, the church has had a presence in Connecticut since 1778. The Congregational Church of Eastford had been at the Church Road location since 1829.
The origins of the fire are still under investigation by fire marshals.
The congregation was shocked by the fire.
“Hopefully they can rebuild,” said Shirley Fields, of Woodstock Valley. “That would be nice.”
Moran still held a Sunday service by utilizing a school.
“This is how quickly the Lord can raise beauty from ashes,” he told the congregation.
The Eastford Baptist Church opened its doors for the Congregation Church’s children’s program.
“As far as I’m concerned, as we said before, everything we own is theirs, and we’re going to walk together with them through this,” Pastor Tim Howard said.
The Congregational Church has fire insurance, but people can also donate money through it’s website and a GoFundMe campaign started by a parishioner.
“We know God is good,” Moran said. “He’s doing something good. We just don’t know what it is.”