This week, a structural engineer is inspecting an eastern Iowa church that was nearly destroyed by fire earlier this month. Investigators say someone intentionally started the blaze March 8 at the First Presbyterian Church in Monticello. No one has been arrested in the case.
Clarence Hosford has been a member of the church for 62 years and donated $100 toward the rebuilding effort. "We’re very supportive of anything that can be done to restore the church," Hosford said.
Officials are trying to determine what sections of the sanctuary can stay and what needs replaced. Hosford is hoping they can save the church’s stained glass windows. "It does give us a very beautiful view, as well as improve our thoughts," Hosford said.
Crews have been cleaning the educational center portion of the church this week. Pastor Al Polito says the center will reopen on Monday. "To know this section wasn’t as damaged…getting it cleaned up and ready to go, it’s encouraging. It kind of lifts the spirits," Pastor Polito said. The church is 102 years old. While it’s being rebuilt, members are attending the neighboring United Church in Monticello.