The Southeast Conference Center was on the top floor just left of the tree.
COLUMBUS, Ind. – A massive fire burned through the United Way of Bartholomew County building on Christmas eve and Christmas day, which housed 37 not-for-profit and government-related agencies including the Southeast District Center of The United Methodist Church.
The entire building was gutted.
Columbus Fire Department spokesman Matt Noblitt said firefighters were called to the fire about 7 p.m. but were soon pulled out of the building because of a dangerous maze of hallways and renovations.
Noblitt said about 90 firefighters were working at the fire’s peak.
At the height of the fire on Christmas, the Rev. Brian White, superintendent of the Southeast District, said “I definitely think we will be starting over entirely with our office.”
White said District Assistant Becky Huff-Cook has already contacted the Church Mutual Insurance Company to begin the claim process.
The Rev. Gary Schaar, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Columbus, offered temporary space at the church for the District Center.
According to press reports, the city’s fire inspector Keith Owen said an electrical problem likely caused the blaze, although the extent of the damage has hampered the investigation.
Former State Fire Marshal Roger Johnson called the blaze the worst in Columbus in three decades. No one was injured.
Associate Press reports where used in the story.