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Fire damages Wilmore church

Mount Freedom Baptist Church in Wilmore is reporting on its Facebook page that work is underway to repair the damage to the historic church’s sanctuary caused by fire Friday morning.

Dispatch got the call about 8 a.m., and the Wimore Fire Department responded with mutual aid from the Nicholasville and Jessamine County fire despartments.

Wilmore Assistant Chief Wiley Adams said the fire started in the attic. Someone who was walking downtown saw smoke coming from an attic vent above the sanctuary and called it in.

“It was pretty extensive damage to the sanctuary,” Adams said.

It’s not a total loss, and can be repaired, he said.

Adams said Friday the cause of the fire had not yet been determined.

“We’ve not been able to get an investigator in there,” he said, but added: “It’s not under suspicion.”

Jessamine County Fire District Asst. Chief Danny Eades said Monday afternoon the cause was apparently electrical.

No one was injured, Adams said, and there was no damage to any other nearby buildings.

Pastor Nathan Elliott said it’s been estimated it will take three to five months to repair the damage, depending on whether or not the roof trusses must be replaced. Preliminary cost estimates range from $100,000 to $200,000, also depending on the work to the roof. Those who want to help can go to www.mountfreedom.org/rebuild to learn more.

The congregation had not been meeting on site because of concerns about the coronavirus.

“We were meeting online, so it didn’t disrupt what we had been planning to do this Sunday,” Elliott said, other than having to find a new location to record the video.

He’s confident that when the congregation does start meeting in person, it will have a place to gather.

“Before the fire was even out, I had three other pastors offer me their facilities,” Elliott said.

Other churches and organizations have also reached out to express their support, he mentioned.

“We were really overwhelmed” by the offers of help, he said.

Elliott also said he was impressed by the quick and effective response of the three fire departments.

The church building, constructed in 1959, is prominently located at the corner of Lexington Avenue and Main Street, next to Asbury University and Asbury Theological Seminary.

The Southern Baptist church was founded in 1832.

The congregation meets Sunday mornings at 9:30 and 10:45, and has Wednesday night meetings for adult Bible study, youth and children at 7.

About Randy Patrick

Randy Patrick is a reporter for Bluegrass Newsmedia, which includes The Jessamine Journal. He may be reached at 859-759-0015 or by email at randy.patrick@bluegrassnewsmedia.com.

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