Fire Destroys 140-Year-Old Baltimore Church

Posted on: July 12th, 2007 by Margaret Foster

Steeple in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon (BACVA)Lightning struck the steeple of a 140-year-old church in Baltimore on Monday, setting off a five-alarm fire. Three firefighters suffered minor injuries in the blaze, which destroyed the First Mount Olive Freewill Baptist Church.

"There were several staff members, including Bishop Brown, in the … administration building when the lightning struck, and victoriously, no one was injured in the evacuation," according to the church's Web site.

The fire caused $600,000 in damages to the church, which had been restored 18 months ago. Although the city has condemned the structure, the congregation wants to rebuild or relocate. Firefighters saved the church's stained-glass windows, and the walls of the church are still standing.

"It's a devastating fire at an important landmark building," says Tyler Gearhart, executive director of Preservation Maryland. "It's wonderful that the congregation is willing to restore it."

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Preservation Magazine