MILO, Maine — Parishioners had finished their worship Sunday and had left for home when a light caught on fire in the roof section and heavily damaged the Park Street United Methodist Church in Milo.
Passing motorists noticed the fire at about 2 p.m. and residents and members quickly responded to salvage what they could from the church, including food from the ecumenical food cupboard, before firefighters ushered them outside because of the danger.
“That was a great save,” Milo Town Manager Jeff Gahagan said Monday. “It could have been disastrous.” The church is located behind the wooden town hall that houses the fire station.
The town is still reeling over the arson fire that destroyed five buildings downtown and heavily damaged another business in September 2008, according to Gahagan.
The Rev. Michele St. Cyr of the church also praised the Milo Fire Department and the Dover-Foxcroft and Brownville Fire Departments that assisted in fighting the fire. She said they were quick to respond and were professional.
No estimate of damage was available Monday but an insurance adjuster was expected to be on scene soon, according the St. Cyr. “There is extensive water and smoke damage,” she said. A small historic stained-glass window in the steeple was destroyed as was a portion of the new roof that was installed about four years ago, she said.
Because of the damage, there likely will be no church services in the sanctuary until fall, St. Cyr guessed. She said the local Masonic lodge and surrounding churches have offered space for services and the church also could use its new education wing built in the early 1980s.
“We will be holding worship services somewhere at 10:30 a.m. Sunday,” St. Cyr said.