Allegan Co. church destroyed in fire

OVERISEL TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A church that is home to around 60 members burned to the ground Monday morning in Allegan County.

The fire started around noon at Antioch Fellowship Center, which is located at 3945 37th Street in Overisel Township near Hamilton, fire officials said.

A fire destroyed Antioch Fellowship Center on Feb. 17, 2014.The fire had been burning for a while before crews got to scene. By the time they starting fighting the fire, 75% of the building was already gone, fire officials said.

“Being on a road that has very little traffic and very little houses, I don’t think it was noticed right away,” Overisel Township Fire Department Assistant Chief Mike DeWeerdt said.

The building was an open building – meaning it had no walls inside – so it burned quickly.
A fire destroyed Antioch Fellowship Center on Feb. 17, 2014.
Ron and Paula Lancaster are the pastors of the church. The church originally belonged to a migrant community, but they bought the church in 1992 and have worshipped there ever since.

“We’ve been in the community for over 30 years. We’ve become quite fond of it and we are grateful for all of the opportunities that we have had,” Paula Lancaster said.

Becky Long started attending the church 18 years ago.

“It’s a church, but it’s also a family. I was married here and everybody is family,” Long said.

The Lancasters believe they will rebuild.

“We have seen God rebuild way more than this,” Paula Lancaster said.

“We are going to get through this,” Ron Lancaster added.

Fire officials at the scene said the fire could have been caused by an electrical problem or a heater.

 

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