Fire Damages Marion Church

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A fire Friday morning caused damage to Marion United Methodist Church, 5601 Clinton Drive. It happened about 10:15 a.m.

Volunteer firefighters from Marion, Northeast Lauderdale, and Russell all worked together to put out the growing fire started by a piece of lawn equipment.

Pastor George Pugh, who lives next to the church, described the moment he was notified about the fire.

"We had an individual that was mowing the yard and he came to my back door and knocked and said the lawnmower was on fire," said Pugh. "We tried to put it out with a small extinguisher but it didn't work."

The fire grew before they had time to try other methods to contain the blaze, but they were able to minimize what could have been catastrophic damage.

"We did get three small gas cans that were full of gas out of what used to be a plastic storage shed next to it," Pugh said. "And by that time it had gotten way out of control and fully engulfed."

That storage shed, along with another outbuilding were heavily damaged, and the church office suffered major smoke damage. Pugh credits the firefighters for saving his church.

"We want to thank the fire department for coming as soon as they could," said Pugh. "You know, it's hard for volunteer fire departments to operate in the daytime, so we want to thank them for coming."

The pastor said he would make an announcement later as to how or if Sunday services would be affected.