North Bend Church Destroyed by Fire
North Bend United Methodist Church was destroyed by fire today.
The church secretary Pat Kerkow was alone in the building when the fire broke out around 10:30 a.m. She said she saw a fire shooting "eight feet in the air" from the back wall of the sanctuary, dialed 911 from a landline then escaped safely outside. Fire engulfed the wooden structure and was still smoldering in the afternoon. Fire fighters from both North Bend and Coos Bay responded to the blaze. (Laura Beville Photo)
According to Pastor Jerry Steele "With all the damage inside, it is a complete loss - it is a tremendous disaster, but it's a building. The church is the people." He plans to find an alternate location for the church to worship on Sunday.
There is no identified cause of the fire at this time and Steele said the fire marshal will begin an investigation on Wednesday.
Bishop Robert T. Hoshibata contacted Steele by phone from Arizona to be in prayer together and offer his support for Steele and the congregation. United Methodist Churches throughout the conference are offering words of prayer and support. Rev. Laura Bevillle of the neighboring Coos Bay United Methodist Church, spent most of the day at the scene with Steele and North Bend church members offering her support.
See more pictures on the conference facebook page.
You can watch a video of the fire posted by The World newspaper.