Firefighters save sanctuary in Kanawha County church fire

SISSONVILLE, W.Va. — Flames damaged a Kanawha County church Friday afternoon but the flames didn’t reach the sanctuary.

The blaze was reported at Crossroads Community Church on Martins Branch Road in Sissonville at shortly after 3 p.m.

C.W. Sigman

When firefighters arrived on the scene they had to battle single digit temperatures and the flames.

Kanawha County Emergency Services Director C.W. Sigman said the fire was in a separate building behind the sanctuary. He said firefighters were able to keep the flames out of the sanctuary. He said firefighters used salvage covers inside the worship area to reduce the damage.

“They made a pretty good stop on it,” Sigman said. “Most of the fire contained to an addition.”

There was no word on what started the blaze.

Martins Branch Road was expected to be closed for several hours into the evening because of the ice created in fighting the fire.

Sigman said fire crews from Sissonville, Tyler Mountain, Malden and a City of Charleston ladder truck were on the scene.

“I think they did an excellent job. They had good help and several departments answered the call for assistance. They worked together very well,” Sigman said.

There were plans to tear down a breezeway between the addition and sanctuary to prevent a rekindle from causing any further damage.

Single-digit conditions with wind chills below zero make it difficult on firefighters, Sigman said.

“It’s hard to keep your footing. Once you’ve been working hard and you get all hot and sweaty and you come outside and cool off and you’re wet and damp you’re down for a while,” Signman said.

The church fire was just one of several reported across the region Friday. Sigman said the Red Cross confirmed a spike in fires with the frigid temperatures.

“We’ve had some people who were trying to use a cook stove to keep warm. We’ve had several people who were trying to use auxiliary type of heat,” Sigman said.

Tyler Mountain volunteer firefighters responded to three separate fires Friday.

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