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Fire leaves historic church in ruins in south Chicago suburb

Officials said nearly a dozen fire departments responded to Sunday's fire in the Will County village of Beecher, but by the time the flames were doused St. Paul's Lutheran Church was in ruins.

Fire at St Paul’s Lutheran Church in Beecher, Illinois (SOURCE: St. Paul’s Ev Lutheran Church – LCMS in Chicago Heights).

BEECHER, Ill. (AP) — A weekend fire heavily damaged a historic church in Chicago's far southern suburbs that had appeared in the 2002 film "Road to Perdition."



Officials said nearly a dozen fire departments responded to Sunday's fire in the Will County village of Beecher, but by the time the flames were doused St. Paul's Lutheran Church was in ruins.

No one was injured and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Flames swept the church Sunday afternoon as members of the congregation were enjoying an Oktoberfest celebration in the parking lot.

The closest fire hydrant was approximately one mile (1.6 kilometer) away, prompting an effort to shuttle roughly 91,000 gallons (344,472 liters) of water to the rural location to extinguish the flames, officials said.

The church, which is more than 150 years old, appeared in Tom Hanks's 2002 film "Road to Perdition," WGN-TV reported.[1][2]

"My grandparents are buried there. It's really sad seeing the church like this," Beecher resident Zachery Wehling told the station.

Fire Chief Joseph Falaschetti told WLS-TV that the building dates to 1865 and it is a total loss.



Notes & References


  1. Davis, Kelly. “Fire Destroys Historic St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Far SOUTH SUBURBS.” WGN. WGN-TV, September 20, 2021. https://wgntv.com/news/fire-destroys-historic-st-pauls-lutheran-church-in-far-south-suburbs/. ↩︎

  2. The Chicago Journal called the movie one of the underrated Chicago/Midwestern dramas of its decade.* ↩︎

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