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Fire at Ballard church causes smoke damage and more

Tim Devine, pastor of St. Paul’s UCC in Ballard, received a call from the fire department at 4:30 a.m.  Tuesday, March 29, to say that the building had caught fire.

Members of St. Paul UCC put on face masks for protection from asbestos released by the fire. Photos courtesy of Tim Devine

Neighbors called 911 when they saw smoke coming out of the church. No one was hurt, said Tim, but there was significant smoke damage that will take time to repair.

The fire started in the front furnace room by accident, he said, “and an investigation as to the exact cause is still underway.”

The fire was contained to a basement area, but traveled through the air and heating ducts to create hot spots throughout the building.  There was damage in the downstairs lobby, nursery, library and sanctuary near the entrance.

“In those areas parts of ceilings, walls, and floors were removed by the fire department to take care of them.  There is also some water damage and extensive smoke damage,” he said.

Interior damage to the church.

With no access to the building, Tim invited the congregation to gather at 11 a.m., Sunday, April 3, in the church parking lot for prayers.  They they processed walking 10 minutes or carpooling to Ballard First Lutheran Church, where they will worship in Haavic Hall for several weeks.

The estimate is that the building will be closed for three months.  An asbestos abatement process in underway.

“The church is far more than a building,” said Tim, expressing his gratitude to friends and colleagues in the Pacific Northwest Conference for their “outpouring of prayers, concern and offers to help.

“We’re a small but mighty congregation,” he said, “and we will continue to be faithful and to serve in the weeks and months ahead,” he said.

For information on church matters, email For information on 12-step meetings, contact Seattle intergroup at


Copyright © April 2016 Pacific Northwest Conference News


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