Somers Church moves forward 1 year after devastating fire
By WFSB Staff
SOMERS, CT (WFSB) -
A year ago Tuesday a fire began that would change the landscape of Main Street in Somers, and leave a historic church in ashes.
On Jan. 1 2011, Rev. Barry Cass got a call from the neighbors on Main Street around 11:30 p.m., and they told him smoke was pouring out of the steeple at the Somers Congregational United Church of Christ.
"We had no idea, of course, what was going to happen, and to watch the building disappear like a pile of sticks," Cass said.
Eyewitness News video from that night captured how ferocious the flames became so quickly and left the church, which was built in 1842, nothing but a charred foundation.
"I've found myself over the past couple of days thinking a lot about the fire," Cass said. "The night, the next day, how everything changed."
On Tuesday, Cass told Eyewitness News that a new foundation is emerging. The congregation has been holding services at Johnson Memorial Hospital, and the church offices and daycare have been able to move back into the addition behind the former meeting house.
Fire investigators have never been able to figure out what started the flames, but that's not something church members are thinking about.
"We're really trying to move past it," Cass said. "There's nothing that can be done. Whatever caused it, it's gone. And we need to rebuild and that's where the focus needs to be."
Cass told Eyewitness News that donations have been pouring in for the rebuilding fund. However, they still have not settled with their insurance company to determine how much money they'll be getting.
Church members said they hope the have the new meeting house completed by fall of this year.
"I think I'll just get over the sadness once the new one is up," said church member Pat Jones.
Drawings of the new church were shown to Eyewitness News, Cass said it'll be as close as they can make it to the old one, while incorporating some updates to get the building up to code.
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