Firefighters battle bitter cold, flames at historic Lebanon church
Firefighters had to battle bitter cold, an icy parking lot and flames as the 156-year-old Bethel A.M.E. Church at 111 N. Cherry St. caught fire overnight. The two-alarm fire sparked off at about 3:40 a.m. Wednesday when a patrol officer noticed smoke and fire coming from the building's second floor, according to Lebanon Fire Chief Steve Johnson. With temperatures hovering around 17 degrees, water froze almost instantly on the church parking lot, making a tricky job even more treacherous. Five additional departments lent extra manpower, and salt trucks were called in to treat the pavement. The flames were out in an hour. With nobody inside the building, there were no injuries. Firefighters have not yet determined a cause for the fire. Fire investigators said the building will be saved even though the second floor collapsed.