Staff photo by Daniel Wattenburger
A fire gutted the Hermiston Adventist Church in Hermiston early Sunday morning.
The fire started at the end of the west wing of the church at 855 W. Highland Ave., according to Scott Goff, fire marshal for Umatilla County Fire District 1. Flames were high when firefighters arrived at about 4:30 a.m., he said, and the first crew to respond worked on that part of the building until backup arrived and they moved to the rest of building where the fire was spreading. The cause is not known.
Firefighters were still on scene Sunday afternoon, and Goff said the entire inside of the building was heavily damaged. The main foyer was visibly charred and smoke damage was evident at the windows and roof.
Members of the church also stood on the lawn and surveyed the damage.
Police were also canvassing the neighborhood asking if anyone saw anything, police chief Jason Edmiston said, a common tactic after a fire.
While fighting the blaze, firefighters were called to another fire at about 6:30 a.m. for a single-wide trailer at 2180 NE 10th Ave.
Goff said the family was not home at the time, and it was a total loss,