A fire broke out in Brighton Church’s social annex shortly after 8 pm on Sunday, June 21. Within minutes of its outset, the Brighton Fire Rescue District responded and were on the scene. When they arrived, the exterior of the annex side of the church was engulfed in flames and the fire had spread to the attic. The initial responding crew placed a call for assistance from three additional units within Brighton Fire Rescue District, and two units from South Adams County Fire Department.

After a forced entry through a door in the back of the building, firefighters were able to gain access to the attic space. They extinguished the flames before the fire spread to other areas of the building.

Fire crews gave clearance for church personnel to enter after putting out the flames, and they began to clean up and assess the damages. “This is quite extensive. The annex at this point is unusable,” said Rodney Kelly, head elder. “The food bank has been totally affected. We are not able to hold food bank this week. This is a big concern. We are not able to provide what we had planned for our community coming into the holiday week,” Kelly explained.

Working throughout the night, Kelly contacted an electrician in an attempt to save the refrigerators and freezers in the food bank. Electricians were able to run new circuits overnight to restore power to those vital components of the food bank. The rest of the building remains without power.

Fire investigators are conducting a full investigation, with initial findings revealing that the fire appeared “to have started as an outside fire in bushes and trees. It extended into the soffit and attic space. Crews were able to stop the fire in the attic and limit any further damage,” according to a Facebook update posted on Sunday evening by the Brighton Fire Rescue District.

Insurance has been notified and the conference is working closely to ensure that paperwork is submitted to Adventist Risk Management. The extent of the damage to the exterior and attic is yet to be determined.  No injuries occurred, and the building was empty at the time of the fire.

The church welcomes assistance as it plans to reopen a community food pantry and refurbish its facility, said Kelly. “If you are able to assist, please contact the Brighton Church via email at secretary@brightonsda.org. I’m glad nobody was hurt. There are material damages, but material things can be repaired and replaced,” Kelly concluded.

Jon Roberts with additional reporting by Rajmund Dabrowski