DARLINGTON (KDKA) — A church in a small community in Beaver County has been destroyed by flames. It’s a devastating blow for parishioners and the Darlington community.
Flames could be seen raging out of the front door and windows of the Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church around 5 a.m. on Monday. The flames completely destroyed the decades-old church which dates as far back as the Civil War.
Cheri Martin, who lives just steps away, captured the intensity.
“Oh my goodness it was awful. I got married here, my girlfriend got married here. It’s kind of sad, it really is,” said Cheri Martin.
From front to back, fire and smoke consumed the building. Heather Duncan lives across from the church on Market Street. She tells KDKA, she could feel the heat. So much so, it started to melt her property.
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“I actually had to take stuff off my front porch because it was melting everything. And people were driving by and somebody pulled over to call 911, and we actually had to tell them they needed to move because their tires were melting on the asphalt,” said Heather Duncan.
Around 6 p.m., the Darlington Township VFD was back on scene as the roof of the church was smoldering again.
It’s a devastating loss for the community. Many attend the church not just for services, but it’s also known to be a meeting place for family events and activities.
“It was a shock to see. But, we’re a small congregation and the people are and have a strong spirit,” said Timothy Casey, Mount Pleasant Presbyterian Church Lay Pastor.
Casey says the congregation will share services with other nearby churches. “It’s out of the goodness of their heart they’ve made that offer and we appreciate that, and we will build from here,” said Casey.
Luckily, no one was injured. As of right now, the fire chief says the fire does not appear to be suspicious. A Fire Marshal is investigating the cause.
The flames burned several holes in the roof, shattered the stained glass windows and left significant water damage in the basement.
The pastor told KDKA he already received confirmation from elders the church will rebuild.
All of the openings on the ground level of the church are being boarded up with material donated by the Home Depot in the meantime.
“It’s not a building. It’s all the people that’s in it. And even over the years we’ve lost a lot, but the people we gain are equal to the people we lost,” said Darlington Township Council Vice President Debby Shasteen.