The cause of a fire that resulted in approximately $75,000 in damage at a local church is under investigation.
The Madison Fire Department was dispatched to St. Paul Lutheran Church (2126 N. Sherman Ave.) at 10:05 a.m. when an office worker discovered fire in the ceiling. All occupants of the church safely evacuated as firefighters responded, and nobody was injured.
Medic 10, Engine Company 10, and other responding crews confronted fire in the rear office area of the building with smoke banked down about halfway to the floor. Smoke was also noted coming from the eaves outside. As Engine 10 and Medic 10 stretched a hose for fire attack, Ladder Company 8 accessed the roof and cut open a hole so smoke could escape the structure.
Crews had the fire knocked down within 11 minutes of arrival on scene. Firefighters remained on scene to ventilate the church, which filled with smoke during the incident.
Thanks to the early notification about the fire, damage was confined to the room of origin, impacting an office area and an adjacent printer/supply area. Initially damage estimates are at $75,000.
A food pantry located inside the church is temporarily out of service as a result of this fire, impacting a total of approximately 180 people. St. Paul Lutheran Church staff and volunteers say the pantry is closed for the remainder of Thursday, and their Senior Connections and Veterans programs will also be shut down on Friday. The food pantry will re-open next week, and worship services are anticipated to go on as scheduled this weekend.
Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer)