2 firefighters hurt in Andale church fire

Posted: Updated:
ANDALE, Kan. (KAKE) -

In the small community of Andale, church members are counting their blessings after a fire broke out at the St. Joseph Catholic church early Sunday morning.

"Heard the thunder and lightning just after four o'clock,” Father Daryl Befort recalled. "Got up a little bit around six o'clock and looked out the window and saw the fire trucks, and that's when we recognized it was the church that was on fire."

Firefighters rushed to the church around 5:30 a.m. Two of them were sent to the hospital.

"One has some burn injuries and one has some inhalation injuries,” Sedgwick County Fire Chief Tavis Leake stated.

They say a lightning strike may be to blame.

"When we arrived on scene, we had smoke and flames showing from the attic,” said Leake.

But instead of focusing on the damage, Father Daryl is already looking ahead.

"I've seen situations like this before so really it is what it is,” he said. "We just gotta start putting a plan together to repair and rebuild."

Some of those repairs include fixing the ceiling and replacing the roof line.

As far as the structure, it's fine. The church may have been built in 1910, but the outside walls are made of solid brick.

Until everything is fixed, the close-knit community has found a place for the church to have mass.

"The high school immediately offered to, allowed us to have it over here,” Father Daryl added.

It’s something every church member is thankful for. 

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