NORWOOD YOUNG AMERICA, Minn. (FOX 9) - UPDATE: According to church leaders, last Sunday's fire was ruled electrical and no foul play is expected. Now church leaders are looking into whether to rebuild or relocate the church.
A church more than a century old, now stands in ruins following a fire in Norwood Young America.
“I’m totally devastated, I’m broken hearted,” said Eugenia Young, a church member. “It’s just unbelievable.”
“It was just starting out where the bell is and escalated from there,” said Ryan Grams, a witness.
In the daylight, Church in the Maples United Methodist’s Pastor Eli Somers showed what is left of the historic church, just months removed from celebrating its 160th anniversary.
“The extent of the damage, it looks like it’s gone,” said Pastor Somers. “There is not much inside that wouldn’t have been consumed.”
Norwood Young America Fire Chief Steve Zumberg says the fire appears to have started in the front. Investigators don’t suspect foul play.
“There’s people have called this church home for 10, 15, 50 years,” said Pastor Somers. “So it’s definitely a hard thing to swallow.
Throughout the day, community members drove past the remains of the long-standing church.
“It’s been car after car after car,” he said. “This is a historic building in this town. The town knows this building.”
The charred bell tower, collapsed roof and flame-scarred building shows what’s left of where this church body of about 15 called home. But among the items saved from the church, includes the building's original bell. Pastor Somers says he hopes the congregation will be able to create plans for the future of the bell.
Pastor Somers says worshipers will join him at his other church about 15 miles away through the holidays as others rush to help and provide support.
United Methodist leaders will eventually decide next steps for the future of the building.