Fire officials are investigating a blaze that destroyed part of the Brentwood UMC fellowship hall Feb 2. The three-alarm fire started around 5:00 am, says the Rev. Alexis Easton. “I think we were incredibly fortunate. A man returning home from his job saw smoke and called in the alarm.”
Fire fighters were on the scene quickly, and told Easton if it had been five minutes later the entire fellowship hall would have been lost.
“Flames went up the north wall and about halfway underneath the fellowship hall,” says Easton, who arrived at the church about 15 minutes after the fire was reported. “If there had to be a fire we’re grateful it started under the storage area of the fellowship hall and not the basement of the sanctuary.” Fire fighters cut holes into the roof and knocked out the windows of the fellowship hall to fight the blaze. The fire destroyed a portion of the building including two closets, and damage from smoke was extensive. The cause is under investigation.
Despite the smell of smoke still evident in the sanctuary on Sunday, Feb. 4, it wasn’t enough to keep the congregation from worshipping. Easton says the fire provided a special ‘God moment.’ “The lectionary text for the day was out of Isaiah, “And the temple was filled with smoke,” and that was pretty astounding to people.” Easton says she preached about the cleansing power of fire, and reminded them that, “the church is most importantly the people, and not the building.”
Built in 1886, Brentwood UMC is the longest running church in Brentwood. A fire in 1937 destroyed the church’s social hall.