West Virginia parish, community mourn loss of landmark church devastated by fire

Where parishioners once sat for Mass in Benwood now sit the charred remains of a building regarded as a monument in the community.

At a time when parishes look forward to the most holy of seasons and the Easter triduum, a fire tore through St. John Church on March 30.

Fire officials said the fire started just before 9 p.m. and took only minutes to become fully engulfed. They said the fire started near the high altar and spread toward the front doors of the church with the bell tower acting as a chimney, allowing the fire to spread more quickly.