(Lenconnect) - A fire destroyed the church at the Romanian Orthodox monastery in Bridgewater Township Friday afternoon.
The Clinton Fire Department was called just before 1 p.m. to the scene at the Holy Ascension of God monastery complex at 15143 Sheridan Road. The monastery is at the edge of Washtenaw and Lenawee counties, just northwest of Clinton.
Clinton’s Assistant Fire Chief Clayton Covell said when they arrived there was a heavy fire venting from the rear of the building that was moving quickly. Billowing smoke could be seen miles away. The firefighters battled the fire under extreme temperatures. They were able to get it under control after nearly two hours of work while continuing to battle hot spots before a downpour of rain came, which may have helped in the end.
The building was not occupied and there were no reported injuries. However, Covell said, “the structure is a total loss.”
The cause is under investigation.
In addition to Clinton, the Tecumseh, Saline, Sand Lake, Manchester Township and Ridgeway Township fire departments assisted in putting out the fire. The Madison Township Fire Department’s air truck also was on hand.
The monastery is on 53 acres with five buildings on it. It used to be the home of the High Scope Camp and Conference Center. It was converted into the monastery five years ago.
Carrick Legrismith, a neighbor of the monastery, said the priests and monks at the monastery have never caused a problem.
“We couldn’t ask for better neighbors,” Legrismith said.