Fire destroys Hannibal church

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 8:44 AM CDT
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UPDATE: The cause of the fire has been listed as undetermined due to the extensive damage to the structure, according to Hannibal Fire Department Investigator Mark Kempker.

HANNIBAL (WGEM) - A Hannibal church that dates back to 1875 was destroyed by fire Tuesday morning.

Crews were called to the fire at Hannibal True Church at 201 Willow Street around 7:20 a.m.

Fire collapsed the roof of the structure. Heavy smoke was also seen in the area.

Churchgoers on the scene said they did not believe anyone was inside the church at the time of the fire. A Bible study meeting was planned for later in the morning, but nobody had arrived yet.

Police had Willow St. and Chestnut St. blocked to traffic while crews battled the fire.

Hannibal Fire Department Training Coordinator Mark Kempker reported that 27 firefighters were on scene for 6 hours working on the fire.

Jan Jane is one of the church pastors. She has attended church here for years.

“I grew up going to this church when I was a child. From fourth grade on up, and I have a lot of fond memories of this church. I also got married in this church back in 1983,” Jane said.

Neighbors said firefighters arrived quickly, but the fire had already gutted the building.

“The Hannibal Fire Department, hats off to them today for showing up and even Hannibal Board of Public Works. The heat coming off that fire was so hot I had to move my truck. And to see the utility guy go up and shut the transformer off, brave,” said Hannibal resident, Trent Saltzman.

Hannibal True Church fire
Hannibal True Church fire(Donnie Brawley)

As hard as this is to watch, Jane says losing a building doesn’t mean losing a church.

“We’ll either have it in another building on Sunday or outside, wherever. Wherever we need to be we’re gonna be there but we know that the Lord’s going to bring us a new building. And the people are the church, the members are the church, the body of Christ is the church,” Jane said.

The building had been the home of Hannibal True Church for the past eight years.

According to Kempker, additional assistance was provided by the Hannibal Police Department, Marion County Ambulance, Marion County Sheriff’s Department, Hannibal Building Inspectors office, Hannibal Street Department, Hannibal Board of Public Works, Liberty Utilities & Salvation Army.

No one was hurt in the fire.

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