Blaze destroys meetinghouse

Fire caused by electrical problems swept through the Church meetinghouse in Robertsdale, Ala., Oct. 27, destroying the chapel and gymnasium.

Church members began to gather at the meetinghouse immediately following the 2 p.m. blaze and watched firefighters work. No one was in the building when the fire began.

"You cannot imagine the helplessness you feel when you see your church building burning uncontrollably and you cannot do a thing to save it," said one member of Robertsdale Alabama Ward, Mobile Alabama Stake.

The congregation had planned a Fall Festival with a chili cook-off for that evening and was getting ready to decorate the building. Some of the members hoped to still hold the activity at a new location. Then the call came to feed the firefighters.

More than 50 firefighters, from Robertsdale, Silverhill and Loxley, were working on the building. They knew it would take a large portion of the night to get the fire out completely, so with the Church members' help and help from some of the neighbors in the area, tables were set up and food was brought in to feed everyone.

Members of a neighboring church came by to give their sympathies and volunteer their time to help ward members in any way they could. A local funeral home owner volunteered his building for them to meet in as long as they wanted for whenever they wanted.

Bishop Robert K. Crittenden is working to secure a building to rent in Robertsdale until the meetinghouse can be rebuilt.