Corticelli Baptist Church Pastor Dr. Rick Seaton said there were no injuries in Wednesday evening’s fire near Russellville, which damaged a nativity scene. Seaton says they assume the fire was caused by “something electrical”.
“We assume a light bulb burst and got some hay around the manager scene here on fire,” he said. “It caught fire pretty quickly and burned pretty good, so a lot of smoke.”
Seaton said people were eating inside the church when the nativity scene caught fire at about 5:15 p.m. Wednesday. He credits a quick response from firefighters and members of the congregation.
Russellville-Lohman Fire Protection District and Moreau Fire Protection District responded to the scene. Chief Chris Cinotto with the Russellville-Lohman Fire Protection District said it took about 20 firefighters and two hours to put out the fire.
Chief Cinotto said the tightly packed hay bales were difficult to extinguish. He said firefighters had to unroll each one to fully put out the fire.
The chief credits fast-acting neighbors who used their tractors to help move dozens of other nearby hay bales away from the fire.
Photos from the scene show burn damage to the nativity’s wooden frame. No one was injured in the fire.
Seaton tells ABC 17 News this was the first nativity scene at Corticelli Baptist Church, adding that the first two nights went well. He said they had about 200 cars and more than 600 people attend their drive-thru nativity.
“We’re just very thankful,” he said. “I’m very proud of our church. They had the right spirit in putting it on, so it’s been very positive and we’re thankful.”
He said they’ll try to do the event again in 2016. The church is off Route C, about 25 minutes west of Jefferson City.