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VANDERGRIFT, Pa. (KDKA) – Fire damaged a church in Vandergrift on Monday.

It smoldered for most of the day before anyone realized what was happening.

Firefighters from Vandergrift and several neighboring volunteer fire departments made quick work of the late Monday afternoon fire in the First United Methodist Church.

The pastor, Rev. Sara Wrona, told KDKA News that the blaze was confined to the bell tower area of the church, and it apparently had been smoldering for several hours.

She feels blessed that the damage wasn’t worse than it was.

“Some of the folks here at the church had smelled smoke early on in the day, and they could not find the source of that smoke,” Wrona said. “They left, came back later, and there was smoke within the sanctuary.”

Police and the fire department were immediately notified and the fire was discovered.

The smoky blaze was contained to the bell tower area, that’s where the damage was confined. Some of the floor had to be cut away with chainsaws so firefighters could get to the flames.

“We can still smell smoke here within the sanctuary, it’s not overwhelming, so we’re hoping and praying we can have our services as usual this Sunday,” Wrona said.

Vandergrift Fire Chief Randy Dunmire told KDKA, “the fire was in between the first floor and the second area of the bell tower; it appears to be electrical, there was a conduit that ran along (in that area).”

Ralph Iannotti