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Bend church rebuilding after March arson fire

Published On: Aug 08 2013 11:41:57 AM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Kim Tobin spoke with Bend church members, as they continue to clean up and rebuild after they were hit with a string of arson fires more than five months ago.

BEND, Ore. -

For the first time, Trinity Episcopal Church opened up their doors to show the damage done by a string of arson fires set five months ago. Wednesday, church officials say they are ready to rebuild and move on.

Two blazes ripped through Trinity Episcopal church and it's other building St. Helens Hall, devastating the church community.

"We don't want to cry too much about what we lost, because what we're going to gain will be even better," said the church's senior warden, Pete Lovering.

The fire was set in the oldest part of the church, which was built in 1918. That wing is completely destroyed and must be rebuilt from the ground up.

What's now an empty space, ripped out to the studs and sub-floor, was once full of prayer, song and a congregation.

"We did not lose, in this part, any stained glass," said Lovering. "We are very fortunate."

What looks like white wash is actually a shellac finish, sprayed on to get rid of the overwhelming smoky smell.

"The entire roof burned all the way into there, and the ceiling in the middle fell into this kitchen, " said Lovering.

Across the way at St. Helens Hall, the work is really picking up. A second fire was started in the back of the building the same night.

"The panes of glass all cracked because of the temperature difference outside, and they will be replaced," said Lovering.

A new roof was built after the old one caved in from the flames.

Even though it will be a few months before a service is held at St. Helens Hall, church members aid they are happy with how far the work has come.

"When you're in a position of watching this every day, what you want it to do is hurry up," laughed Lovering. "But we're very happy with where we are."

Trinity Episcopal has been holding its Sunday morning service at 9 a.m. at the Historic St. Francis Church on Franklin Avenue.

There have been no arrests in the arson case. Anyone with a tip can call Bend PD. A $10,000 reward is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.

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