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Stull church leaders grateful to firefighters; repairs will close building for now

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Stull Community of Faith leaders say they’re “eternally grateful” to firefighters who managed to contain a fire Monday afternoon to the church’s bell tower area.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire at the rural Douglas County church built in 1921, but there was damage to the bell tower above the church’s sanctuary and water damage at the main entry.

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Containing the damage wasn’t an easy task, according to a Facebook post from Consolidated Fire District No. 1. Firefighters from multiple nearby agencies including Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical and the Shawnee Heights Fire District also responded to provide support.

“(W)e have to battle fires like this with equipment that a lot of the times is not appropriate,” according to the post. Firefighters who got up to the roof and climbed ladders did so with an extra 80 pounds of clothing, breathing apparatus, tools, saws, and hoses, according to the post.

“… Yes, there is and was a lot of risk involved today, but these Firefighters accepted the challenge and went above and beyond,” the post continued. “They did this to save a 100 year old church full of history. A church that is a landmark in the community that means a lot to many people around Douglas County.”

Church leaders wrote in a statement Tuesday that fortunately, the sanctuary is still intact and the Faith and Friendship Center building was not damaged. “The firefighters went above and beyond to fight the fire and keep it under control. To them, we are eternally grateful,” they wrote.

“… The church building will not be accessible during time of restoration, completion of the repair work, and until we receive authorization from the County to resume occupancy,” according to the statement.

As of Tuesday, the state fire investigator had ruled that the cause was “inconclusive,” according to the church’s statement.

The church will hold worship services in its Faith and Friendship Center. It will also have the Harvesters Rural Mobile food pantry at noon Thursday, July 28 in the parking lot, and its community cupboard and clothes closet will be open in the Faith and Friendship Center on its regular schedule of the first and third Thursdays in August, according to the statement.

The church has set up a fire relief fund. Those who want to donate can send checks to Stull Community of Faith, 1596 East 250 Road, Lecompton, KS 66050.

“We appreciate your continued thoughts and prayers during this time,” church leaders wrote in their statement.

Stay updated via the church’s website or its Facebook page. You can also leave a message on the church’s answering machine, 785-887-6521, according to the statement.

August Rudisell/Lawrence Times

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