Fires can be destructive both physically and mentally. They can destroy the safety and sanctity of our homes, while also destroying a major source of economic capital when it comes to destroyed businesses.
Psychologically, as a survivor of a fire, you might find yourself constantly on edge when you go to sleep. You make sure to smell for the tell-tale signs of burning wood before going to sleep. You listen for the crackling of burning carpeting. You’ll make sure that there aren’t pockets of excessive heat that have popped up in nearby bedrooms.
You’ll run a check for all of these signs throughout your house, just to make sure that you won’t have to live through yet another fire. These are the effects that such conflagrations can cause for people. Fires can upend the lives of everyone involved, and it takes a while to deal with the effects of such occurrences.
Fires at Places of Worship
Now imagine that your place of worship itself is a victim of a fire. This is a place where you come to find some sense of peace, tranquility, and direction to the travails that life tosses at you daily. This is a location where you come to commune with people who follow your same faith. The sense of brotherhood and sisterhood that a person encounters at a place of worship is one that often can’t be matched.
To see this place which means so much to you on a spiritual and metaphysical front, suffer as a result of a fire, can be a huge assault for the senses. In addition to this, most churches are used for a variety of other tasks. They can act as office space, kitchen, and dining facilities for homeless volunteer efforts, community meetings, and celebrations.
Statistics show that such fires are not uncommon at places of worship. Between the years of 2007 to 2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 1,780 structure fires in religious and funeral properties each year. The National Fire Protection Association reported that such fires were the cause of 2 civilian deaths annually, 9 civilian injuries, and $111 million in direct property damage.
The causes of such fires include blazes caused by cooking equipment (30%), heating equipment and intentionally set fires (16%), and electrical distribution/ lighting equipment (10%), and lightning and candles (4%). About 23% of church fires began in the kitchen or cooking area, while heating equipment rooms contributed to 7% of where these fires started.
Rebuilding a Church After a Fire
There are a few steps to follow once your church has been damaged during a fire. First, you’ll want to figure out when it would be best to start the construction of the church. There are factors that will determine your schedule for rebuilding. Such factors include the fact that the investigation into the cause of the fire will have to first take place, along with contractors or construction workers having to determine when it will be safe to even begin rebuilding.
Also, look at figuring out which church supplies might need to be replaced. It’s good to begin an inventory of the items you’ve probably lost after you’ve given yourself some time to recuperate. You might need to eventually restock on bibles, pulpit robes, handbells, chimes, and a host of other items.
Make sure your property is secured. Though your place of worship might have suffered damage due to the fire, it is still your property. As you go through the rebuilding process you don’t want your church to be vandalized. This means boarding up exposed windows and placing locks on doors which might still be functioning and acting as the primary doorway for repair teams. Insurance companies in many cases require that these steps be taken to ensure that the property stays intact and undamaged while going through the rebuilding process.
Clean up room by room as much as you can. This will help to clear the way for repair teams as they begin work on your church, which will be a huge help in the rebuilding process. Another plus that comes with cleaning up from room to room is that you also have a chance to see which major appliances in the building have been damaged by the blaze. For example, you might have a few pieces of equipment in the fire-damaged kitchen area which might need appliance repair. Conducting a room by room clean up of the church can help you to figure out which items need to stay or need to go.
If you find major appliances, such as a refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, or freezer, that have been damaged, you may want to consider contacting an appliance repair company. Many people opt for buying a new appliance instead of repairing the old one, but with proper replacement parts and the great work of an experienced appliance repair company you can end up saving money at a time when your funds are probably strained as it is.
Losing a house of worship to a fire is devastating. Take it one day at a time and one room at a time, and you’ll have your church ready for community gatherings in no time.