Investigation continues into church fire

60 firefighters from ten area departments battled the fire at Mt. Orab’s Bible Baptist Church on April 10.

The investigation into the fire that destroyed the original sanctuary at Mt. Orab’s Bible Baptist Church is continuing.
The state fire marshal’s office is handling the investigation.  At press time, neither a preliminary cause of the fire or a damage estimate were available.
“Because it’s a church and because it’s a high dollar loss, we turned all of the investigation over to the state fire marshal’s office,” said Mt. Orab Fire Chief Lisa Reeves.
Pastor Ted House said that the church is slowly moving forward to pick up the pieces.
“The outpouring of support that we have seen from community members and other churches has been amazing,” House said.
“People are offering support and prayers and have even volunteered work crews, even though there is nothing to do quite yet.”
House said that even though the time to rebuild has not yet come, he appreciates the thoughts and prayers of everyone.
“The emotional and spiritual help that everyone has provided to me and our congregation has been very helpful and is much appreciated,” he said.
The Mt. Orab Fire Department was called out just after ten p.m. on Monday, April 10 after a passerby called in a report of flames coming out of the roof.
The MOFD was soon on the scene and ended up calling in help from nine other departments in Brown and Clermont counties.
About 60 firefighters battled the flames until about 3:30 a.m.
“We had a lot of challenges on that fire.  The biggest one was the building construction itself.  Part of the building actually had three different roofs on it.  That made it a lot more difficult to get to where the fire was.  The roof was definitely our biggest challenges,” said Reeves.
“The fire seemed to be up in the attic area. Everything below that has pretty significant smoke and water damage.”
Reeves said that the building had been added onto several times, which complicated things.
“The biggest thing we were worried about was having enough people there.  We called in a lot of crews from a lot of different departments.  That was due not only to the challenges of the building but also firefighter fatigue.  That’s a long scene, so you have to have people coming in there that are fresh and that can pick up where the last crews left off,” she said.
“Out in this area, we usually don’t see five hour calls like that too often.”
Reeves said she appreciated the quick and professional response of all the fire departments that came to help.
“There is a lot of cooperation between our area and everything went as well as it could have under the circumstances,” she said.
Reeves also thanked some good samaritans who helped out.
There were some people in the community who brought drinks up to the firefighters as well as help from the Red Cross.  I do really appreciate it when people do nice things for us like that,” Reeves said.
In an interview with The News Democrat the day after the fire, House said that the building that burned was more than just a structure.
“The original church building is what burned.  Many church members have great memories of hundreds of loved ones being baptised in that building, weddings and funerals in that building. We will retore it or rebuild it.”
House said the building was used primarily for Sunday School services.
“Our junior high and high school youth department meets in there on Sundays and our young married class meets in there as well.  Because God has blessed us with other buildings, we are going to move those classes to other areas of the facility and still continue to have those classes.”
“Thanks to the great efforts of our Mt. Orab Fire Department and eight departments that responded, the fire was contained to just that building.  We are very thankful for their work, dedication and professionalism.”