Claremore fire marshall rules out arson in church fire


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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 7/22/2013 7:07 pm Published: 7/22/2013 4:03 pm


The Claremore fire marshal ruled out foul play in a fire that left a century-old church in a heap of rubble.

The Christ Presbyterian Church of Claremore burned down early Sunday morning.

FOX23's Ian Silver talked with the fire marshal on Monday and he said he's certain nobody started it intentionally.

The fire marshal said he is looking into three possible causes.

Immediately after the fire, people who didn't even go to the church mourned its loss.

"I'm thankful that nobody got hurt, but it's a sad day for Claremore," said Denise Ryburn, a Claremore resident.

The Rev. David Schwenk has been with the church for 26 years and said he's been moved by all the people stopping by to look at what's left.

"You sometimes wonder what's going through their minds. What kind of memories do they have? Was it a wedding? Did they bury their husbands? Do they remember Sunday school? Was there a pastor that they enjoyed immensely? Kind of makes your heart ache a little bit," he said.

Fire marshal Jason Crandall said bad weather was in the area when the fire started, so lightning might have contributed.

But there are other also other possible factors.

"There is a degree of electrical inspection that needs to be done," he said.

And crews were working on the building.

"My understanding is there was torches, tar, hot-type roof work going on," he said.

No matter the cause, "I'll never quit trusting God, because … and so, in that I rest," said Schenk.

And for his congregation of about 40, "We're just gonna continue on," he said.

Because the entire building had to be knocked down, the fire marshal is unsure he'll be able to pinpoint which of those factors actually sparked the fire.


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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 7/22/2013 9:02 PM
0 Votes
Allrighty then. Now there's room for the new church.

karlschneider - 7/22/2013 6:44 PM
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So how come that congregation couldn't quickly round up 2 people to invoke Matthew 18:19 and have Jesus magically put out the fire before it ruined their fancy building? Wouldn't that have saved them a whole lot of angst and expense?
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