Fire-Damaged Hyannis Church Plans To Rebuild

The fire that severely damaged Calvary Baptist Church in Hyannis on Tuesday night has left its pastor heartbroken.

“I’m just glad nobody got hurt,” the Reverend Bruce Smith said Wednesday. “You can always replace the building.”

And the pastor said he does plan to rebuild the church, even if it takes six months to a year to do so.

The church is at 25 Lincoln Road, at the intersection of Lincoln Road and West Main Street.

A number of churches have stepped forward with offers of help, including the Federated Church of Hyannis on Main Street, which Pastor Smith said has offered space for Calvary Baptist to hold its services.

The Baptist church has a congregation of 25 members, Pastor Smith said.

The church has been offering shelter for 19 years on a temporary basis to individuals and families, the pastor said. Five people were staying at the church late Tuesday night when the fire broke out. “Everyone got out safely, thank God,” the pastor said.

"I’m just glad nobody got hurt. You can always replace the building. "

                           - Reverend Bruce Smith

The devastating fire comes at a difficult time for Pastor Smith, whose wife, Caroline Smith, is facing stage 4 cancer.

Hyannis Deputy Fire Chief Dean Melanson yesterday said that an overloaded electrical extension cord caused the fire. The deputy chief said a three-way connection at the end of the cord burned away and then came into contact with bedding, allowing the fire to gain a significant foothold before spreading into the rest of the structure.

Firefighters traced the seat of the fire to a makeshift bedroom near the altar in the rear of the church, according to Hyannis Fire Lieutenant Thomas Kenney.

More than 70 firefighters battled the three-alarm blaze, which was reported at 11:20 PM, Lt. Kenney said.

Heavy fire and smoke were showing when firefighters first arrived on the scene, mostly at the right rear of the structure.

The firefighters mounted an aggressive attack, originally entering the structure from a side door near the altar in the rear of the church. The volume of fire was greatest in the altar area, and was pushing into the body of the church, Lt. Kenney said.

Firefighters proceeded to cut into the roof and smashed out the church’s windows to ventilate the fire, the lieutenant said. The fire was knocked down in about 50 minutes, Lt. Kenney said.

Fire officials remained on the scene until about 5:30 AM Wednesday for follow-up investigation.

Aside from a firefighter who twisted his ankle fighting the fire, no one was injured in the blaze, Lt. Kenney said.

About half the church was severely damaged by fire, with the rest suffering smoke and fire damage, according to Lt. Kenney. He estimated the amount of damage from $300,000 to $500,000.

Firefighters from the Hyannis, Barnstable, West Barnstable, Yarmouth and Centerville-Osterville-Marstons Mills fire departments battled the blaze, while other Cape departments provided station coverage through mutual aid.

Hyannis actually is the second home of the church building, which initially was built at Camp Edwards as a chapel for troops training for World War II.

Pastor Smith said the building was moved to Hyannis in 1959, where it continued to serve as a church.Tuesday’s fire also has put another program offered by Calvary Baptist temporarily up in the air.

Pastor Smith said the church has been offering food to homeless and low-income Cape Codders through its Pantry Kitchen program, which opened in 2006. The pastor said the church has been offering three meals a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. “We would serve 225 meals a day,” he said.

A meeting has been scheduled Monday at the Federated Church with area church leaders to talk about ways to continue the program, according to Pastor Smith.


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