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Pacquet loses historic United Church in morning fire

The First United Church in Pacquet was gutted by fire Tuesday morning. - Photo courtesy Jodie Matthews
The First United Church in Pacquet was gutted by fire Tuesday morning. - Photo courtesy Jodie Matthews - Contributed

PACQUET, NL – The First United Church in Pacquet was part of the fabric of the community.

Its steeple might’ve been the most distinct of the Baie Verte Peninsula community’s skyline since it was built 63 years ago.

That was until an early Tuesday morning fire leveled the historic structure.

Pacquet Fire Chief Jodie Matthews received the call just before 5 a.m., that smoke could be seen coming out of the building. It was spotted by fishermen as they headed out to sea just 15 minutes before the chief received the call.

Responding quickly, Matthews said crews had water on the fire immediately and had everything under control.

Despite that, she called it a “complete loss.”

The steeple and the roof have collapsed; the inside is completely burned out.

The Pacquet department had help from departments in nearby Woodstock and Baie Verte. Residents also showed up to help in any way they could.

When Matthews spoke with the Central Voice, she had returned home while there were still firefighters on scene to keep watch on hot spots and conduct a controlled burn.

Any neighbouring structures were not in any immediate danger.

As it stands, the cause of the fire and where it originated remain unknown.

Loss of the church is a blow to the community.

It is known as the First United Church in the community and was 63 years old. It was still regularly used for worship on Sundays, including this past Sunday for its Easter service.

Members of the community are shocked by what happened Tuesday.

“I could cry all day if I let myself,” said resident and church board member Daphne Bowers.

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