A large fire that left the Ephrata United Methodist Church heavily damaged has been ruled officially as accidental.

Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones said this week, the culprit appeared to be a candle that had been left burning overnight in a restroom started the fire.

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It spread from there into a nearby office then into the attic. Jones said the part of the church that housed the offices and study rooms received extensive fire damage; while the sanctuary suffered heat, smoke and water damage.

Church members and others worked to salvage what they could from the structure, including this very old painting hung in the building.

Items salvaged from church fire (GCSO)
Items salvaged from church fire (GCSO)

40 firefighters from six agencies had battled the blaze, which was reported around 8:30AM Sunday morning. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

Jones says there's no connection between this fire and another church fire that occurred in Soap Lake on April 5th. That fire, which destroyed the House of Prayer Fellowship, was also ruled accidental. That fire was said to have started when something was left cooking or turned on in a kitchen in the back area of the building. That fire totally gutted the building.


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