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Thursday's early morning fire destroys Oroville's Church in the Barn

CAL FIRE put out a barn fire that spread into a half-acre vegetation fire early Thursday morning.

Posted: Jun 10, 2021 8:36 AM
Updated: Jun 11, 2021 10:38 AM

OROVILLE, Calif. - Fire crews put out a half-acre vegetation fire that destroyed a small barn early Thursday morning, CAL FIRE Butte County said.

When firefighters arrived at the scene, the Church in the Barn was burnt to the ground.

But to the people who live nearby - they lost much more than a barn.

"We had a big white cross right over here," said Chuck Bacon, a man who lives nearby and is a member of "Church in the Barn."

"I'd walk into this building and I'd take in a breath... ha! it was a breath of Jesus," Bacon said.

He tells Action News Now the church has 30 members - many of them now in a state of shock.

"A couple of people were crying," Bacon said.

The barn was mostly made out of wood. The only thing standing there is the metal archway and for Bacon, the former place of worship held a lot of memories.

"I got married in this church, my wife and I exchanged vows, my mom's memorial service we held at this church," Bacon said.

Fire investigators are still trying to figure out what started the fire.

Bacon thinks he might know the answer. "It might have been a lightning strike that took it down. I know there wasn't any electricity going to the church right now."

No electricity because the building had been declared unsafe.

"Couple weeks ago it was red-tagged taken out of service until repairs were made," said Battalion Chief Mark Mancini from Cal Fire Butte County.

With an uncertain future for "Church in the Barn," Bacon says they are resilient.

"Everybody deals with loss in a different way. We'll have church on the patio until we figure out what we're going to do," Bacon said.

The fire spread to vegetation and to nearby vehicles, CAL FIRE said. Crews quickly contained the fire to keep it to half an acre.

The fire was reported at 2:24 a.m. at 2723 Highway 70. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

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The first of two storms moved over northern California late last night and this morning, but our weather has quieted for now. More rain showers will fall Saturday, but heavier rain and snow with stronger wind arrives Sunday.
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