Fire ravages historic Fultonville church; crews now demolishing remaining structure

March 15, 2017 05:53 PM

FULTONVILLE – Not much is left of the United Methodist Church on Montgomery Street where Jim law attended and taught Sunday school, sang in the choir, had his son baptized and visited almost every Sunday since 1971.

"Devastating.  It was just devastating.  There was so much history in that church," explains Law as demolition crews began to tear down the historic building Wednesday morning.

Neighbors called 911, around 10p, on Wednesday.  They say what started as a little fire, in the back of the church, quickly grew into an inferno with flames breaking through the roof.  When firefighters arrived minutes later, there was no stopping it.

"It's an older church and all wood construction so once it got going it had plenty of fuel to feed it," explained George Donaldson, the President of the Fultonville Fire Department.

Blizzard-like conditions - including snow that was waist hight and frozen water lines - created even more problems for the fire fighters who were working not only to put it out but also to prevent neighboring homes from going up, as well.

"The wind was blowing the snow was blowing all the sparks came off the church, it looked like fireworks," recalls Robert Headwell, a neighbor who was out shoveling and noticed the fire and asked his daughter to call 911.

There's no way Jim Law can avoid the damage as the church that was his spiritual home just happens to be across the street from his actual home.

"So many people in this community worship there and it's a total loss," adds Law, sadly.

Members of the church are meeting Wednesday to decide what to do next.  The closest United Methodist Church is 8-10 miles away.

Here are some facts about the church from the town historian:

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  • Methodist Episcopal society of Fultonville formed January 31, 1854 with 12 original members.
  • Greek revival church built in the spring of that year by local cabinet maker and undertaker, Peter Wiles.
  • Congregation grew in size as the immigrant population of the village grew.
  • Major renovations between 1895 and 1900 including stained glass windows and a new 50' tall bell tower with pyramidal roof.

An interesting note: The town’s other church, Fultonville Reformed Church, burned to the ground in 1854 and was later rebuilt.


WNYT Staff

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