CLEVELAND - A historic church, next to the Cleveland Clinic, went up in flames overnight.
The first calls came in just after midnight. The flames filled the Euclid Avenue Congregational Church of The United Church of Christ at 9606 Euclid Ave. The blaze destroyed the building.
Witnesses and police from the Clinic said it looked like lightning had struck the building.
NewsChannel5 talked to the moderator who came to the scene after getting a call from the Clinic. He’s been a member for nearly 40 years and was obviously shaken.
“I drove down the hill and started to come up Carnegie,” Dean Sieck said. “I could see the sky lit up and I started crying when I saw the building. It was a beautiful building.”
Workers from the Clinic were gathered in windows watching the fire. The windows of some of the Clinic building started to fog up.
It took several hours to get the fire under control.
About 200 members still belong to the 133-year-old church. None of them were inside.
NewsChannel5 anchor Leon Bibb has a special connection to the story as he is also one of the church’s members.
“You cover the stories that impact the lives of so many people, but when you cover a story that has a direct impact on your life -- it’s a tough one,” he said.
Bibb expressed how devastating the fire was, but noted that “this is just a building -- the church is the people… We’ll all work together and rebuild and do what we must do.”
As a safety precaution, the Clinic moved approximately eight patients within the Miller building to the opposite end of the building. Smoke did get into two of their buildings through the air vents, but there was no concern for patients or staff, a representative from the hospital said.
WEB EXTRA: Click on the photo tab to see images of the congregation inside the church before the massive fire. Also, watch our videos to see NewsChannel5's Leon Bibb talk about his thoughts, memories and what's next for Euclid Avenue Congregational Church.
*All activities at East Mt. Zion Baptist Church, (which is next door to the Euclid Congregational Church ) has been cancelled until March 28. The church is without electricity because of the fire.
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