Repairing the extensive fire and smoke damage at Tytus Avenue First Church of God could take up to “six-plus months,” said the Rev. Damon Curtis.
Fire ripped through the church at 3300 Tytus Ave. in the early morning hours on Sunday, and now Curtis said he, his staff and congregation are “taking a little at a time, making our way through it” as they work to rebuild.
FIRST REPORT: Extensive damage reported following church fire
The pastor said he was notified by a church staff member at 2:30 a.m. Sunday that the church was on fire. The Tytus Avenue Church of God has been at its current location since 1984, but started just down the street in 1954.
No one was injured in the fire, according to reports.
Parishioner Doc McCue, who lives across the street in a red brick house, said a neighbor woke him up alerting him to the fire. McCue, along with others, watched firefighters battle the blaze. While he had concern for the congregation, he said he “knew God had everything in control, though.”
“I always have faith in the Lord,” he said. “He got me out of Vietnam; he took away my prostate cancer. I always have faith in the Lord.”
The cause of the fire and the total cost of the damage done to the building are still unknown, but the more immediate questions are about services and the church’s day care, Building Strong Foundations.
“Day care is the biggest impact,” Curtis said. “There’s 45 kids that come here five days a week for day care, and there’s day care staff.”
Because it’s licensed by the state, he said, “We can’t just pick up and go to another building. You have to work in conjunction with the state. We don’t know where that’s going. That’s a big question.”
At least for this coming Wednesday and Sunday, services again will be held at the Poasttown Church of God on Germantown Road in Middletown. That “will give us a little time to figure out what we’re going to do,” Curtis said.
Anywhere between 100 and 150 people attend services at the church, and Curtis said 91 attended at Poasttown on Sunday morning. He said more would have attended, but they did not have the ability to bus neighborhood children on Sunday.
Curtis and other church officials are expected to meet with the insurance adjuster on Monday.
Middletown Division of Fire Deputy Chief Brent Dominy said investigators will continue to inspect the building on Monday.
Curtis said for those who want to help the church rebuild, an account to help the church recover from the fire will be established at LCNB sometime on Monday.
Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.