JUNCTION CITY — A mid-morning fire on Tuesday, Feb. 18, destroyed a church in Junction City that first opened its doors in 1875. The Junction City Good Shepherd United Methodist Church located at the corner of Mulberry and Walnut streets in Junction City is still standing but early reports described extensive damage throughout the structure.
Junction City Police Chief Amy English reported that the first call reporting the fire arrived at 9:34 a.m. Five fire departments responded to the scene. One firefighter from the Somerset-Reading Township Department said the fire “was burning really good when we got here.” Firefighters also reported that gaining access to the blaze proved difficult because of the design of the structure.
Former pastor at the church, John Kay, received a call from one of the parishioners telling him the church was on fire. Kay said construction on the church began in 1874 and the doors opened in 1875. He said the congregation for the usual Sunday service numbered between 17-21 regular attendees. Although he was visibly upset at the destruction, Kay was adamant in declaring that “through God something good will come of this.”
A deputy for the Perry County Sheriff’s Office was among the first responders on the scene. Witnesses report that the deputy apprehended a man running from the church at the time of the fire. A spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office said no information was available concerning the individual taken into custody.
No cause for the fire had been determined but the State Fire Marshall was already on the scene investigating the blaze. No injuries to firefighters were reported.
The fire departments responding to the incident included Junction City, New Lexington, Glenford, Thornville, and Somerset-Reading Township. Between 20-30 firefighters from the five fire departments fought the Tuesday morning blaze.