A fire early Sunday morning destroyed much of the Hermiston Adventist Church, as flames and extensive smoke damaged the decades-old house of worship.
Umatilla County Fire District Marshal Scott Goff said investigators think the fire was caused by a lamp that was too close to a wooden table. Foul play is not suspected.
“It was a long, slow, smoldering fire that kind of cooked the whole building,” Goff said.
As flames engulfed the west side of the building before dawn on Sunday, some church members were quick to jump to action.
Larry Hanson, a former head elder in the church, helped fight the fire as a volunteer for the Echo Fire Department.
“It’s kind of hard to say how long it had been burning,” Hanson said.
He arrived around 5:15 a.m., close to an hour after UCFD reached the church, and remained on site until about 9 a.m.