Parishioners of St Columba’s Uniting Church have been left reeling after a deliberately lit blaze caused significant damage to the recently refurbished building at Noble Park last week.
The fire, which started in the kitchen area, was first reported about 4.15 on the morning of 17 February. It took about 25 minutes for firemen to bring it under control.
Damage was largely contained to the kitchen and recreation areas of the complex.
The congregation recently spent about $1 million refurbishing the property.
Church Council Chair Greg Wyatt said parishioners found it hard to understand why anyone would want to set fire to any community building, let alone a church.
But, Dr Wyatt said the congregation was determined to repair their home.
“As a congregation we are resilient and will get through this,” he said.
“It will be inconvenient during the restoration and re-building.”
Dr Wyatt said a number of non-Uniting Church congregations worshipped at the site and would also be inconvenienced over the next few months.
He praised the synod insurance office and tradespeople who worked quickly to ensure that worship could go ahead on site the Sunday after the fire.
“We are very grateful to the synod insurance office for their rapid response and the tradespeople who worked to repair smoke and water damage so that we had access to as much of the building as possible in a very short time.”
The building is currently under assessment and the cost to rebuild has not been finalised.
Image sourced from Nine News Melbourne via Twitter.
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