Fire damages Madisonville church


The congregation at Madisonville Christian Fellowship will be holding services elsewhere for a while as its chapel on West Highway 21 was damaged by fire last week.

Pastor of the church, Joshua Schwarz, said his main goal is just to make sure the church continues to do ministry, and do it well — loving God, loving people and making disciples.

“As of right now, we’re waiting to see what the insurance will allow us to do,” Schwarz said. “We have contractors in place cleaning; my hope is to get the day care open soon.”

Fire Chief Thom Jones said the fire broke out at about midnight when the Madison County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a motion alarm going off at MCF.

A deputy and Schwarz entered the building, noticed there was heavy smoke in the sanctuary.

Jones said smoke was throughout building, and to the floor, making it difficult to search; after searching the building, firefighters found five rows of chairs in a perfect square burned to ash.

Jones said a light bar on the ceiling had a short in the 220-volt system, and the sparks started the fire.

There was heavy damage for heat and smoke in the sanctuary, and smoke damage throughout the building.

“In the sanctuary, everything above 10 feet melted, it got so hot in there,” Jones said.

Schwarz said the church is covered in soot.

“We’re trying to deconstruct everything in order to reconstruct everything,” he said. “We’re looking at several months before we can get back into the sanctuary. That’s my focus.”

Schwarz said that the church was insured, which should cover the damage; however, there is a need to continue services, which currently are being done outside under a tent.

“For the time being, I would like to stay on the property for services,” Schwarz said. “I’m concerned about what the summer might bring. I’m trying to be creative about this, but this is my goal while the weather is nice.”