Cause of Fire at St. Ann's Catholic Church Still Undetermined

April 23, 2008
Atchison County Sheriff John Calhoon says officials have finished their on site investigation into Monday morning's fire that destroyed St. Ann's Church.

Sheriff Calhoon says samples of the charred remains of St. Ann's have been sent to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation for testing but that it would be a while before the results come back.

But that right now there is no concrete evidence one way or the other on the cause of the fire, meaning that the cause is still listed as undetermined. He did, however, confirm that the fire started on the west end of the church.

Sheriff Calhoon says church board members have already started the process of determining what they will do with what remains of the church.

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April 22, 2008
EFFINGHAM, Kan. (AP) _ An accelerant-sniffing dog is helping
search for the cause of a fire that destroyed a 111-year-old church
in northeast Kansas.

Eight volunteer fire companies and about 100 firefighters battled the Monday morning fire that destroyed St. Ann's Catholic Church in Effingham. The cause is undetermined, but Atchison County Undersheriff Larry Myer said there have been a few recent arson fires in the area.

Officials said fire crews poured 150,000 gallons of water on the flames, draining the town's water tower and forcing several area
schools to close Monday. Firefighters hauled water from other
communities and even farm ponds in the area to battle the flames.

Investigators from the Kansas State Fire Marshal's office and the federal bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms surveyed the
scene Monday afternoon.

A prayer vigil was held Monday night in the church's parking lot as the community and congregation struggle with the loss of St. Ann's.

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April 21, 2008

Fire crews in Effingham spent Monday morning battling a blaze in St. Ann's Catholic Church.

The church has been declared a total loss after the fire completely destroyed it, according to Atchison County Under Sheriff Larry Myer.

Myer said the blaze started approximately 3:05 a.m. and was still burning shortly before 8 a.m.

The investigation is just getting underway and the ATF has been notified according to Myer.

Steve Weisman, Superintendent of Atchison County Community Schools, informed 13 News that all schools in Effingham will be closed today (Monday). That includes Effingham Elementary, Atchison County Community Middle School, and Atchison County Community High School.

Weisman said the water tower was completely drained while fighting the fire, and he did not expect to have water back by this afternoon.

All school activities will be held as usual though.

If you have any information about this fire, Myer asks that you give him a call at 913-370-2301.


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