WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A Warwick church community is reeling after their building was seriously damaged by fire Wednesday night, but their faith hasn’t been shaken.
The historic Woodbury Union Church was boarded up Thanksgiving morning after the fire tore holes in the roof and caused the steeple to collapse.
Warwick fire officials said Wednesday that it appears the fire started outside, climbed the side of the building and spread to the attic.
Nobody was hurt and nobody was inside at the time – but that’s not normally the case.
“Boy Scouts are here on Wednesday nights, but because of Thanksgiving they weren’t here last night,” parishioner George Tarring explained.
The congregation’s new pastor, T.J. DeMarco, took over on Sept. 1, and the community had just spent about $10,000 fixing up the building.
“The church is going to continue on,” DeMarco said. “The building is not the church, the people are the church, and that’s the important thing to remember at this time.”
The church’s cross and musical hand bells were among the items that were saved from the flames.
Other communities have reached out to the Woodbury family to offer their help.
“I’ve received a lot of calls from pastors in the area, offering us space, so there’ll be no shortage of space, but we want to be as close to our building as we can be,” DeMarco said.