First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

170-yr.-Old New England Church Burns

THE SMALL COMMUNITY OF CUMMINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS, (Population 1,500) was rocked Sunday morning when they awoke to see the community Congregational Church in full blaze.

cummington a Worthington FD

Worthington FD photo

The house of worship has been an anchor in the area since 1840 when it was built and was a central part of the town’s life.  Whatever the cause of the fire, once it started it took off through the aged-wood structure.

cummington b carol lollis

photo by Carol Lollis

WWLP-TV Ch. 22 Springfield has some on-the-scene footage of the fire in this video report:

The alarm was received in an unusual manner.  One of the town residents looked out their window and saw the flames reflected on the windows of a neighbor’s car.  Thinking that the car was on fire, they called it in as a car fire and the FD responded accordingly.  They immediately saw what was happening and upgraded the response.

The church’s minister, Stephen Philbrick told the Daily Hampshire Gazette:

By the time he got there, firefighters were already on the scene. Philbrick said it was hard to tell where the snow stopped and the piles of white foam and fire retardant sprayed by firefighters began.

“It was like whipped cream up to your ankles,” Philbrick said. “I don’t know if it was water or tears that ran down the hill and began to freeze.”

Read the complete, excellent report from the Gazette HERE, including the story of the “healing quilt.”

Currently the fire is not considered to be suspicious, but the State Fire Marshal office is conducting an investigation into the cause.

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