Repairs are under way at College Hills Church of Christ after a fire damaged part of the Children’s Wing.
“It’s in the early stages,” said John Grant, church administrator. “I would say they’ve pretty much removed all the damaged tiles and installation, and they’re beginning to clean ductwork in the adjoining regions of the building.”
Building and grounds supervisor Frank Abercrombie estimated the last portion of the repairs should begin Aug. 1.
“We’re about one week into a six-week restoration effort,” said Grant. “It’s going to be a slow go, but it is moving forward.”
Grant said much of the damage was isolated to a hallway in the Children’s Wing.
“The damage was unbelievably small, considering what it could have been,” said Grant.
He said something in the attic crawlspace caught fire, but he never actually saw the flames. A portion of the roof needs to be repaired because firefighters had to cut through it to let water reach the flames.
Grant said the ceiling tiles and insulation all need replaced because of water damage.
“Pretty much all the children’s classes were fine,” said Grant. “We have continued with our normal schedule.”
Children will not be able to enter the area Friday through Sunday, though, because workers will be doing ozone treatments to clear some of the smoke odor.
Grant said insurance will cover most of the costs for repairs, but he doesn’t know what the total tally will come out to.
He said they were just blessed it wasn’t worse than it was.
“If it had been an hour later, there’d have been a hundred kids in there,” said Grant. “If it had been a day later, no one would have been there and we’d have probably lost the whole children’s wing.”
According to Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen, dispatch received a 911 call July 10 shortly before 6 p.m., reporting "a strong smell of smoke and a funny smell" in the church on Leeville Pike.
When the first two fire trucks arrived, crews saw flames, so four other units responded.
"That was the whole fire department [on duty at the time]," said Lebanon Fire Chief Chris Dowell. "All three stations responded."
Firefighters quickly contained the fire, breaking through the roof at about 6:15 p.m. before it was fully extinguished by about 6:30 p.m.
Dowell previously said lightning likely caused the fire.