Chapel Hill UMC total loss after Monday blaze

Chapel Hill United Methodist Church is a total loss after a fire Monday afternoon.

A fire broke out at Chapel United Methodist Church Monday afternoon. The country church located outside Gladbrook on Abbott Ave is a total loss after Monday’s blaze.

Volunteer firefighter, Pat Cornwall was just a mile away from the church and was first on the scene.

The fire was caused by an attempt to fumigate a rodent that had gotten into the building.

According Cornwall a smoke bomb type device that acts as a flare was used outside of the building in attempts to draw the animal out. The smoke is toxic to the animal.

“There were no hydrants in the area so water had to be hauled from the nearest hydrant which was four miles away. There was a backup of trucks at one point so water had to be hauled in from Gladbrook which is eight miles away,” Cornwall said.

Cornwall said they had roughly 12 tankers running water to the scene.

This was the largest fire Cornwall had been involved in during his tenure as a volunteer.

The call came in at 3:20 p.m. Monday afternoon. Firefighters battled the blaze until 10 p.m. Someone remained on scene until 4 a.m. until they felt it was safe to leave. However the department was called back in at 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Three counties and nine departments were called to the event. From Grundy County Beaman and Conrad assisted, from Tama County Gladbrook, Garwin, Liscomb, Green Mountain and Toledo assisted and from Marshall County LeGrand and Clemons assisted.

The church celebrated their 150 year anniversary September 17. The church building itself was built in the 1860’s and the congregation has been established for 150 years.

There were no injuries to any civilians or fire fighters.

Pastors for the church are Don and Cindy Morrison.