Lorain church looking for new home after destructive fire: ‘My heart is crushed’

LORAIN, Ohio -- A Lorain church is looking for a new home after a destructive fire.

Flames engulfed Iglesia Del Dios Vivo Church at West 17th and Reid Avenue in Lorain Saturday morning.

The fire started in the basement and quickly spread through the historic building until flames shot through the roof.

"Unfortunately, the fire had a head start on them. Once it started shooting through the roof they had to go defensive and back everybody out," said Lorain Fire Captain Jonathan George.

The inside of the church collapsed and rubble surrounded the church that is destroyed.

Lorain firefighters had to battle the blaze in frigid and icy conditions Saturday.

"This was basically our first snow and there was a little bit of ice on the ground so we did have one firefighter slip and injure himself," George said.

It took two hours to bring the flames under control.

"This is something that you have words no words for. This is a church that helps the neighbors and anybody who needs help over here. We try to do our best to help them," said church pastor Neomi Colon.

The church did a lot of community outreach: a food pantry, clothing donations and helping the homeless.

Now the congregation is looking for a new place to hold church services.

Still, they’re thankful there were no services at the time of the fire like there would have been on Sunday morning.

Colon is heartsick over the destruction and she's not alone.

"My husband and I were married here June 29th, 1976," said Lorain resident Margie Mattei-Gilgenbach.

Mattei Gilgenbach has very fond memories of the church. Her wedding was there 42 years ago.

"My heart is crushed. It's a beautiful church," she said.

"The inside was beautiful. It had stained glass. Just beautiful. I'm sad very sad," she said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

If anyone would like to help the church get back on its feet, you can call Pastor Colon at 440-990-7552.