Parishioners of Soldotna Church of God were forced to look for a new and drier home Thursday after a water main in the building burst, drowning the basement of the church in five to six feet of water.
"With the 20- and 30-below weather, the sprinkler main coming into the building froze, and when it warmed up Thursday, the 4-inch water main busted," said Alan Humphries, pastor at the church, which is located at the corner of Binkley and Redoubt streets. "It destroyed everything -- thousands and thousands worth of equipment. It's major."
The pipe burst was discovered around 7 p.m. Thursday.
"By the time the city got there to turn the water off and the water got pumped out it was probably 3 or 4 a.m.," Humphries said. "We worked all night long."
Clean-up crews began working Friday to remove the ruined carpet and other debris from the basement. The building lost both heat and power in the flood, since the boiler and electrical boxes were in the basement. Heaters have been brought in to dry up the remaining water.
"We're trying to get the moisture out," Humphries said. "The longer it says in here the more damage is done."
An estimate of the damages was not available Saturday, but Humphries said the damage was total. The basement housed offices with computers, a kitchen with a refrigerator, microwave and oven, a piano and sound equipment. All were destroyed by the water.
Humphries estimated church members would be displaced for 30 to 90 days. Sunday church services have been moved to the Soldotna High School auditorium for the immediate future, including today's 10:45 a.m. and 6 p.m. services. A concert with singer Sherman Andrus scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the church has also been moved to Soldotna High School.
Sunday school classes, the church's late-night Friday youth program and Wednesday evening services have been canceled until further notice. Humphries said he will look for a temporary location to hold the canceled programs as well.
The church is working with the insurance company to assess the damages and plan repairs.
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