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East Branch United Methodist Church has hope despite ‘complete loss’ of structure

6:15 P.M. UPDATE:

HANCOCK, N.Y. (WBNG) — New York State investigators are looking into the cause of the fire at East Branch United Methodist Church.

East Branch Fire Department Fire Chief Rod Keesler says he suspects an issue with the electrical wiring to be the primary factor in the fire.

Pastor of the East Branch United Methodist Church, Dora J. Odarenko, told 12 News that the church will be performing services at the East Branch Fire Department Hall for the near future.

Odarenko says she is remaining hopeful despite the loss of the church.

“There’s no reason not to be positive, and as I was saying yesterday to people; God is still with us, and we feel that,” Odarenko said.

All activities and events that the church had planned will go on as scheduled.

Town of Hancock Supervisor, Jerry Vernold, has a long history with the church. When he found out about the news Monday, he couldn’t bring himself to go look.

“It really hurts to see this,” Vernold said. “I was baptized in this church, went to vacation bible school in this church, did the Christmas programs in this church, and there’s just so many good memories in this church.”

The church is in talks with its insurance company about the next steps that need to be taken.


11:21 A.M. UPDATE:

HANCOCK, N.Y. (WBNG) — The East Branch Fire Department Fire Chief Rod Keelser says no injuries were reported in a fire at the East Branch Methodist Church in the town of Hancock Monday.

The fire department says it took 10 tankers to fully douse the flames in the church, which became a total loss.

They say they had to use an “almost mile-long” hose to extract water from the East Branch Delaware River to battle the fire.

Fire investigators say a preliminary investigation points the fire being electrical in origin.

12 News has also learned that the Upper Delaware Ambulance Corp., Equinunk Fire Department, Trout Creek Fire Department and Delhi Fire Department were on standby as crews worked to put out the fire.

12 News will cover this story in its noon, 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. newscasts.


HANCOCK, N.Y. (WBNG) — Multiple agencies responded to a church fire in the town of Hancock Monday morning.

The Hancock Fire Department says several departments assisted them with putting out a fire at the East Branch United Methodist Church on Fish Road around 9:13 a.m.

The following departments responded to the fire:

12 News is working to get a hold of the East Branch Fire Department for more information regarding the blaze.

This is a developing story, stay with 12 News for further updates.

PHOTO SOURCE: Hancock Fire Department Facebook Page


Matthew Benninger

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