You might be already be aware, as it did get some local late night news coverage, that the conference office caught on fire last night shortly after sunset. Fortunately Doug Hilliard, Charles Byrd and his assistant Janel were in the building and smelled smoke on the third floor. Unsure of the problem, as there were no visible flames, Doug went out to the parking lot and saw smoke coming from the roof area. The Fire Department was then alerted. Before they arrived, Doug and Charles opened a few third floor ceiling tiles to see flames in the attic, which they then put out using our office fire extinguisher.
It appears that the source of the fire was electrical, which ignited insulation and burned through at least one of our roof/ceiling wood support beams.
The Fire Department inspected the area and determined that in order to ensure there were no possibilities of flare-ups or hot spots that could re-ignite, they watered the are down. We do have some water damage in the upstairs third floor. The damage is largely contained to Janel’s office, but there is a small amount of water damage in Xiomara’s office, which is directly below Janel’s on the second floor.
We will be assessing damage and repairs as soon as possible, but I join Doug in saying how grateful we are that there were staff in the building after closing hours, that the fire began directly over the office where our staff were at the time, and that the fire was identified and quickly extinguished.
Had no one been in the building or if the fire had begun in another part of the attic, the consequences could have been devastating to the building. God has watched over us, and we are very thankful!