The following article is from a newspaper clipping from an unkown newspaper:

Bellvale Methodist Church Burns to the Ground

The beautiful, eighty-six year old Methodist Episcopal Church of Bellvale burned to the ground, Wednesday evening. Charred ruins of a few remaining timbers, ends of the porch steps, part of the foundation mark the place where it stood. Cause of the fire unknown.

Rivers of ice cover the ground nearby, ice hangs from some of the branches of nearby trees, telling their own story of the bitter cold that the firemen endured that night, when the thermometer hung close to the zero mark and encased their garments in ice. The corner of the long shed, close to one end of the building has charred some timbers and boards but is otherwise not damaged.

Cause of the Fire Unknown

The cause of the fire is unknown. A light coal fire had been started in the furnace to heat the Sunday School room for a social that evening. It had been made around three o'clock that afternoon. Later it was again tended, room made ready with placement of the chairs for the evening party and the fire banked and dampers turned. This perhaps around five. The furnace which stands today, like a sentinel, still has the unburned coal in it, just as it was left. The asbestos above the furnace was among the last to go down The shutoff damper in the pipe was turned.

Fire Starts in Another Part

At one time, the firemen thought they had the fire licked. But on exploring in the attic over the main assembly room, they found that the flames had licked up the side wall partitions and the flames had already reached the attic. The heavy bell in the bellfry endangered further work. It was ready to cave in at any moment.

Albert Phillips Discovers Blaze

About seven o'clock that evening Mr. Albert Phillips escorted his daughter to the church for the social. On entering the Sunday school room, they found it a seething mass of flames. They went to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred DeGraw, nearby phoningWarwick Fire Department for aid, and immidiately the siren was sounded and the Excelsiors on the way. Several lines of hose were laid from Long House Creek, but it soon became evident more help was needed and the Raymonds were summoned with their truck, while Vernon Fire Department stood by to cover Warwick in case of need.
After the Raymond's arrived two more streams of water were in use. The firemen met with great difficulty, due to the extreme cold for pressure gauges froze on the pumps and they had to run by guess, water freezing from nozzles as it left.

Screw Drivers Used to Open Coat Buckles

The buckles on the firemen's coatswere so encased in ice, when they reached the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred DeGraw and the home of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Batz to warm up, that they had to be pried open with screw drivers. Hot coffee and sandwiches furnished by the Ladies Aid Society.

All Furnishings Destroyed

All of the church furnishings for the altar, except the communion service, in fact for the entire building were destroyed. Church records, excepting the first and second year Sunday School records which happened to be in the church, are intact.

Tragic Blow to Bellvale

Bellvale community will feel heavily the loss of their church for they made it the center of their home and community life. It was a going concern. Young and old contributed generously of their time and talents and held the church in warmth and affection deep in their hearts. Throughout the seasons, year in and year out young blood took special pride in contributing their share toward church expenses staging a show seldom rivaled in little community groups,--the Bellvale Circus.

Small Amount of Insurance

The stately old edifice, about 50feet x 32 feet, belfry and gallery, seating in all close to 300 was of clapboard frame with metal shingle roof and its four long windows on two sides of the church room, were of three sashes, each sash holding sixteen small panes. It was insured for $6,000 in two companies, the VanDuzer Agency carrying the larger sum. The adjuster has been here.

Planning to Rebuild

Already plans are being laid to rebuild. May the shadow of the Bellvale community never grow less!