By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
TAYLOR – Fire caused extensive damage Nov. 2 to Taylor’s historic West Mound Church in Heritage Park, where contractors were repairing the deck in front of the church prior to the blaze.
Mayor Rick Sollars told the media that contractors using a grinding wheel to cut nail heads may have sparked the blaze, but fire investigators will not confirm it was the cause, and the investigation continues.
The church, which was built in 1882, and moved to the park in 1994, lacked modern fire suppression design, and had blown in insulation, which may have fueled the fire.
Taylor Communications and Marketing Director Karl Ziomek said crews were repairing the wooden porch and stairs, and had left the location shortly before the fire was spotted about 4:15 p.m. Monday.
“The fire appeared to go from the front left, as you face the church, straight up, and then go through the attic and roof to the back of the building, aided by the strong winds,” he said.
Ziomek said that while the structure remains standing and doesn’t look that bad from the outside, the inside of the church was badly damaged, with the ceiling collapsed and six inches of water on the floor.
“All of the beautiful stained-glass windows were lost, with the exception of the back one with the praying hands,” he said. “Unfortunately, these types of buildings, with old, dried wood, will go up quickly in the wrong situation.”
Ziomek said the city had made significant investment recently in the church, painting it, and providing a new furnace and flooring.