|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - April 2010
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Oak Grove Church of Christ searching for temporary worship site after fire
Polk County Enterprise
BY VALERIE REDDELL
LIVINGSTON — Members of Oak Grove Church of Christ are looking for an alternate site to hold Easter services Sunday after a fire broke out in their fellowship hall Saturday, March 26. Church member Steve Smith said church leaders are talking with Center Grove, Camp Ruby and the Church of Christ in Livingston about whether those sanctuaries can accommodate the 75 to 80 members who usually attend services at Oak Grove. “Sunday we had services in the parking lot and it was cold, really cold,” Smith said. Smith added that many of his fellow members are elderly. The fire damage is contained to the fellowship area of the church, according to Livingston Fire Chief Corky Cochran. “The heat was pretty intense on the framework of the building back in that area. The remainder of the building suffered heat and smoke damage,” Cochran said. County Fire Marshal Jay Barbee told Smith the fire was likely electrical in nature. The origin appears to be in the baptistry which is equipped with an electric water heater, or an attic fan that removes hot air from the attic, Smith said. It took about 30 minutes to bring the flames under control, Cochran said. Cochran said part of the attic area had been closed in for storage area had been closed in right above the kitchen that allowed the fire to build up more heat. “The fire department did an excellent job,” Smith said. “They only used 1,960 gallons of water.” That low water usage minimized damage to other areas of the church, according to firefighters. About six gallons of foam was also used to snuff out the fire. A total of 21 firefighters and four trucks responded from Livingston. They were joined by three trucks and seven firefighters from the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation fire department and four trucks and eight firefighters from Indian Springs. With all those fire-fighting resources tied up east of Livingston, Onalaska Volunteer Fire Department sent one truck and five firefighters to stand by in Livingston should another emergency arise. Crews remained on the scene at the church until 12:17 a.m. Sunday morning. Insurance officials were at the church Wednesday and told church leaders they wanted a private investigator to inspect the site.