70-Year-Old Cleveland Church Beginning Fresh Start After Damaging Fire

Monday, June 9th 2014, 10:52 pm
By: Tess Maune

The images inside Cleveland's Assembly of God Church are more like what you'd find exploring a sunken ship.

No more hymns will be heard from the piano. Instead, music is replaced by wind blowing through the gaping holes in the sanctuary's ceiling.

"It just looked like something just hit it and blew it up," said Brother Dan Edens.

It's a tough sight for Edens. Although the walls are still standing, the fire gutted almost everything inside. He said the church is close to 70 years old; Edens has been the pastor for nearly half of that time.

"Is this happening," he asked. "You don't ever think this is gonna happen to your place."

Edens and his family live in a house on the church property. He said he woke up around 5:00 Monday morning and found flames shooting from the church.

"Yeah, I heard a noise, kind of made a 'boom' sound," he said. "I looked out of the house and the church was engulfed on top of the roof and on the sides, pretty well in flames."

The flames did the most damage to the sanctuary, then Edens' office. 32 years' worth of sermons, books and hard work; gone.

Edens said that is just stuff, and the building, it doesn't not define his church; the people and their faith do.

"I think it will draw us closer together, I think it'd make us realize there's more things important besides a building and it's just walking with The Lord and letting Him be present in our lives," Edens said.

If there's any question about what happens next, the answer is found on the marquee out front, a message that was put up well before the fire -- "It's never too late to make a fresh start."

Reporter: "It's easy to say, but hard to really drill that into your head and into your heart, right?
Edens: "Yep, you have to practice what you preach now. Now we'll have to live it. We're starting anew and it's gonna be good."

Edens said they will likely make whatever repairs are need to the exterior of the building, and once everything inside is ripped out and cleaned up, they will rebuild inside. Church will be held in the youth center until the building is ready.

Firefighters believe the fire was sparked by some sort of electrical problem.