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Church Storm Damage Estimated At Several Hundred Thousand Dollars

Reported: Feb. 21, 2014 8:29 AM EST
Updated: Feb. 21, 2014 12:47 PM EST

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Katelyn Sykes) -- A Huntington church is starting over after strong winds blew off its roof and heavy rain damaged the interior of the building.

Officials with Classic Construction in Huntington arrived at the Open Door Baptist Church in Huntington early Friday morning to start surveying the damage and said repairs to the church will likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take several months.

Winds topped speeds of 60 mph in Huntington and blew the roof off of the church onto W. 19th Street about 1:30 a.m.

"I just heard windows rattling and just loud wind and then I just heard a loud crash and that's when I looked outside and saw the roof here in the middle of the street," said Zach Thornburgh, who lives across the street.

The damage to the church is dramatic. The street is covered in splintered wood and twisted metal. Among the rubble is the church's steeple.

"I couldn't believe when I saw their roof is in the road and the steeple," said Steve Wayne, a pastor at Celebration Church, which is just around the corner from the Open Door Baptist Church. "I can't imagine that's been done inside."

Officials with Classic Construction said it will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair the damage.

"The entire roof is gone," said Chase Ward, an estimator for Classic Construction. "The entire building is flooded from first floor all the way down to the basement. There's about 4 inches of standing water in the basement. The ceilings are all weakened, heavily, especially in the basement, where so much water has just poured in. Several of the ceilings have already started to buckle and collapse. It's definitely going to be a process."

Ward said it would take several months to complete the repairs.

Neighbors said they want to help this church rebuild and get back open as quickly as possible. Neighbor Skip Bailey said he didn't realize the damage was that extensive.

"I'm sure we'll try to get in touch with somebody from the church to see if there's anything we can do for them," Bailey said.

Wayne, the Celebration Church pastor, said it is important that Open Door Baptist Church makes a comeback.

"It's the Body of Christ," Wayne said. "It's that simple to help if we can."

Construction crews said they expect to have W. 19th Street closed at Madison Avenue for the next several days while they are working. No other homes or businesses in the area were damaged by debris.

No one from the church could be reached for comment.

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (Katelyn Sykes) -- Friday morning's strong winds damaged a Huntington church.

The roof of the Open Door Baptist Church along Madison Avenue and W. 19th Street partially blew off. Cabell County 911 dispatchers said high winds came through at about 1:30 a.m. The church's steeple also was destroyed.

W. 19th Street is covered in twisted metal and splintered wood from the church, and the road is closed until it gets cleaned up.

A neighbor said he heard everything, came outside and couldn't believe what he saw. No one was injured.

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