Two-alarm fire damages century-old Albany church

Crews on the scene of a two-alarm fire at the Willamette Community Church in Albany, Ore. Monday, July 22, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)
Crews on the scene of a two-alarm fire at the Willamette Community Church in Albany, Ore. Monday, July 22, 2013. (KOIN 6 News)

(KOIN) – It took more than 90 minutes for firefighters to extinguish a two-alarm fire that broke out at a 101-year-old Albany church early Monday morning.

The fire was discovered just after 2 a.m. at Willamette Community Church by a pastor who found smoke after he responded to a security alarm.

Crews arrived to find a fire in the basement of the three-story, 75,000 square-foot church that had extended into the walls, floors and ceilings. The Albany Fire Department reports that crews had to search several hidden voids and chases in the old building, and were forced to open up the walls and ceilings to find hidden flames.

There were no injuries. The cause remains under investigation.

Albany Fire Marshal Michael Trabue said the damage was limited to the interior of the church, but was significant enough to close the building, including the church daycare and preschool. The damage is estimated at between $100,000 and $125,000. According to Trabue, the building will require some structural repairs, but the damage was not widespread thanks in part to the basement’s fire sprinkler system.

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