POMFRET — A fast-moving fire virtually destroyed the First Congregational Church of Pomfret on Saturday, burning away sections of the roof just weeks before Christmas.
No one was injured, fire officials said.
“When we got here the main body of fire was showing out of the front right corner as seen from the driveway,” said Pomfret Fire Chief Derek May.
Firefighters declined to describe the building as a total loss, but the damage was severe enough that church members say the regular service will be held across the street at The Pomfret School at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday.
“By God’s grace and only in his grace and by his power we’ll come through and see what he has for us on the other side of this,” said Rev. Thomas Crumb.
Firefighters walked out of the church with a cross and an American flag that had been salvaged as parishioners gathered outside the building.
“All the ashes and the charred ruins, I know that God has a wonderful plan for us,” said church secretary Robyn Bonitz.
Bonitz said the church has nearly 80 members.
The cause of the blaze, which started around 12:30 p.m., had not been determined by Saturday evening. Pomfret’s fire marshall said the cause is still under investigation and they are working with the state fire marshal’s office. Pomfret Fire Marshall Chris Bay said they are learning toward contractors performing work on site and it does appear to be accidental.
The Saturday men’s fellowship breakfast had been held at the normal time at 8 a.m., and the fire was discovered just a few hours later. No one was inside the church at the time of the fire.
The church was founded in 1715. This is the third building the congregation has occupied and some of the building materials and items inside the current structure date back centuries.
Rev. Crumb said at the scene that it was too soon to know the future of the church. Church members say they plan to rebuild.