Church fire investigated; Serious situation averted at Mason’s Chapel UMC


Calloway County Fire-Rescue Chief Tommy Morgan said a lack of oxygen helped prevent a small fire from becoming a much bigger issue Monday morning at Mason’s Chapel United Methodist Church near Hazel.


He said the fire, which was reported a little after 9 a.m., left about an eight-foot wide hole in the floor of the church’s sanctuary, along with damaging some electrical lines and causing smoke damage. Heavy smoke damage was also prevalent in the building.

“We didn’t deal with any flames once we were here. Any that had been going died quickly because there just wasn’t enough oxygen inside the building to really get it going,” Morgan said.

Morgan said he asked for investigators from the Kentucky State Fire Marshal’s Office to come to the church to examine the site along Murray Paris Road. He said this is customary for a church building or other similar buildings and does not indicate that anything is being suspected as being out of the ordinary.

“At this time, we can just say that the fire is under investigation. We’ll turn it over to fire investigators and see what they have to say. Hopefully, they won’t find anything, but you do this anytime a church is involved just to be sure,” said Morgan.

Mason’s Chapel Lay Leader Jimmy Myatt said he made the call for CCFR to respond when he discovered heavy smoke in the area of the church’s Sunday school area after a neighbor had called him to report seeing a door open in that part of the building.

“Well, this sure isn’t the best thing to see, especially a day after we had church here,” Myatt said. “It was just filled with smoke and had me coughing quite a bit but I was OK.

“I made that call for the fire department and, it seemed as if right after I got off the phone, here they came, and it was really nice to see them coming this fast.”

“We had a good response today,” Morgan said of how the first units reached Mason’s Chapel in less than 10 minutes from the time the call was received. Those initial units came from Station 1 in Murray; eventually, six trucks and an estimated 18 firefighters were on scene at the height of the operation. Only ventilation with fans was required; no water hoses were used.

“This was way out here, too, so we did really well. This is also on a pretty narrow road for our trucks. I’d say it’s about nine feet between the side-view mirrors on the front of the trucks we have so we were lucky that we didn’t meet too many vehicles as we were responding.”

Mason’s Chapel was established in 1879. A cornerstone at the front of the sanctuary portion of the building indicates that the current site has been in service since 1966.

It is unknown how the fire will impact services at Mason’s Chapel this week. Still, the fact that the structure was totally intact was a blessing to its pastor,  the Rev. April Arnold said.

“You’re just glad that it wasn’t worse. We’ll be able to continue from here at some point,” Arnold said. “Still, the flashing lights of emergency vehicles are not the kinds of lights you want to see here this time of year. That’s a bit scary.”