Nfld. & Labrador

Fire-ravaged, this historic Grand Falls-Windsor church will be rebuilt

A manager of the oldest remaining church in the town says its interior will be restored after an extensive blaze earlier in October.

Oldest church in town escapes demolition, despite extensive damage

St. Matthew's Presbyterian Church in Grand Falls-Windsor is the town's oldest church, built in 1905. (David Newell/CBC)

A historic church in Grand Falls-Windsor, extensively damaged by fire earlier this month, will escape demolition, as the managing board of St. Matthew's Presbyterian vows to rebuild.

The future of St. Matthew's looked grim Oct. 18, as firefighters battled a blaze that completely gutted the inside of the century-old structure.

However, the church's insurance company is finalizing its numbers, says the chair of the church's board of managers, and the congregation and community are encouraged that the church will be repaired. 

"They all think it's a nice, beautiful, little church in a great community, and it's going to be rebuilt," said Bob Thompson.

St. Matthew's was built in 1910, just five years after the town of Grand Falls was established. It is the oldest church in the community.

"It's the only original church that is still here," he said.

"The rest of the churches — the Anglican, United, R.C, Salvation Army and Pentecostal churches have all been replaced and rebuilt. This is the last standing wooden structure of the original churches."

Inside 'completely gone'

Firefighters contained fire damage to the building's interior, with the main structure itself saved. 

"The church inside is completely gone," Thompson said.

"The fire started near the front entrance just inside and then went up the wall up into the ceiling."

Thompson said neighbouring churches were quick to offer their support and assistance when they found out about the fire. 

"The United Church minister was on site the night of the fire and she offered their accommodations, and we actually had a service at the United Church," he said.

"The Anglican people came forward and any help we needed — no problem. We've had calls from people offering assistance and offering donations. We even had one crew who came forward and offered to take on the church as a project and rebuild it."

Thompson said while the investigation into the fire has not officially been completed, officials were unable to determine the exact cause. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from CBC Newfoundland Morning

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