Prairie Creations
about us
contact us
Religious Stained Glass
FLLW Art Glass

Church Glass Restoration

In The News

Fire burns church

Church members were still busy this morning cleaning up debris and water from a weekend fire caused by lightning that struck Watertown's St. Paul's Episcopal Church, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

By Steve Sharp and Diane Graff
of the Daily Times staff
July 25, 2005

City firefighters responded to the church fire at 10:30 p.m. Saturday, at about the same time the tire fire in the town of Shields was extinguished, Assistant Fire Chief Mike Quint said.

The fire at St. Paul's, located at the intersection of Second and Spring streets, started when the steeple was struck by a lightning bolt earlier in the afternoon, Quint said.

"The fire sat and smoldered inside the structure before it took off inside the church itself," he said.

No injuries were reported in fighting the fire, Quint said.

A portion of the roof burned off and the church sustained a lot of water damage, the assistant chief said.

The Watertown Fire Department received mutual aid from Johnson Creek, Lebanon, Ixonia, Oconomowoc and Waterloo departments, Quint said. The Fort Atkinson Fire Department also sent a pumper to stand ready in the fire station if needed, Quint said.

Firefighters returned to the station at 2 a.m. Sunday, Quint said.

Noah Schultz serves as junior warden of the church and in that capacity takes care of the building and grounds.

Schultz was busy again today doing his best to minimize water damage that occurred when firefighters fought the blaze.

"Building inspectors have been in and out and they seem to think the building is structurally sound, but the roof has major issues," Schultz said.The building is on the national and state historical registers and Schultz said that, because of those designations, all architecture must be restored to its original state. He said a more complete damage estimate should be coming later today.

Schultz also noted the church sustained minor damage in 1995 in another incident when it was hit by lightning.Schultz said members of the church have responded well to the incident and have been pitching in to help with cleanup. He also said the church held services over the weekend at Christ United Methodist Church on Hall Street.

Schultz said he and others at the church are thankful for the help provided during the cleanup from members of the church and also the general Watertown community.

Fire Restoration
Stained Glass Fire Restoration
by Oakbrook Esser Studios
"I'm really appreciative of the help we've been getting from the congregation and the community. We got the ground level of the building cleared of the gook, water and falling plaster," he said. "We've got all the pews out and now just the organ and altar remain. Fire department members said they couldn't believe we got as much done as we did in such a short span of time ... We have to get going on this work to eliminate the water damage and we had a lot of people helping right off the bat."

He said some volunteers worked for 12 straight hours at the church the day after the fire.

"It's been a race against time against the water damage," he said.

Schultz said the church's sanctuary area didn't sustain substantial damage but the organ didn't fare well through the fire.

"The organ doesn't look good," he said. "I'm thinking it's probably partially, if not totally, ruined due to the water."

Priest In Charge Colleen O'Connor told the Daily Times this morning that she and the church are very appreciative of the area's Methodists who she said were "very generous in offering us space over the weekend."

She said church will continue in St. Paul's Guild Hall as repairs take place.

"Just as soon as we get electricity and water running we can meet in there. Hopefully we can start meeting in there this week and certainly by next week," she said.

She said she is unsure when things will be back to normal at the church.
"We still have insurance people coming to look at things and they haven't done a complete examination of what needs to be done," she said. "We are mainly concentrating on reducing water damage."

O'Connor said she is unsure just what the church might have lost in terms of irreplaceable items.

"Some artwork sustained water damage and some church records were damaged, but hopefully most everything can be restored or replaced. But most importantly no one was hurt. Everything else we can deal with."


Dedicated to Excellence to Glass Art
129 E. Wisconsin Ave Oconomowoc, WI 53066

Please call for Appointment before stopping in
Ph 262-567-9310 Fax 262-567-6487
Toll free 800-223-5193
E-mail: info@oakbrookesser.com

Copyright© 2009 Oakbrook-Esser Studios. All Rights Reserved.