Hampden church underwater after historic blizzard | News

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Hampden church underwater after historic blizzard

HAMPDEN, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Many people across Maine are digging out after the historic blizzard and assessing the damage left behind. The Hampden Highlands United Methodist Church expected Sunday's service to run as planned, but when the pastor arrived she found the church flooded.

Associate pastor Reeni Cipullo with the church said, "I heard a beeping noise outside, but didn't really think anything of it. When I put my key in the door I heard the gush of water inside and came in to find the fellowship hall completely underwater."

The blizzard brought strong winds to the area along with freezing temperatures. The winds blew open an upstairs window allowing the temperatures inside to drop dramatically. The pipes froze and soon burst causing the second floor to flood, the first floor ceiling to collapse, and the basement to fill with one and a half feet of water.

Cipullo said, "I just was amazed. I wasn't expecting it at all when I came in. "

The area destroyed by the flood was part of the church's newest addition that took them ten years to pay off.

Cipullo said, "We just paid off the loan just a few months ago and we are getting ready to have a huge celebration in honor of the new addition and being debt free."

The congregation said the celebration will still go on, but be slightly delayed. According to Cipullo there is a silver lining in this unfortunate event.

"The building can be replaced, it's insured. The main thing is nobody got hurt. I'm glad nobody was here yet. It could have been disastrous if the church was full of people when it happened," said Cipullo.

The church's 200-year old sanctuary was also spared any damage from the pipe burst.

Senior Pastor David Nicol said, "When something like this happens a total loss is a big thing to deal with, but the fact that we can come back into those spaces pretty quickly will be a very good thing for the congregation."

Members stopped by help salvage what they could and spread the word.

"I just don't think any of us were prepared for what we found when we came in today. They [members] used the phone tree and got it on Facebook immediately, and sent out an email. The response was just amazing. I was very proud of the church members and very happy with how well they handled everything," said Cipullo.

The church plans to recover from the damage as soon as possible and resume services. Until then they will be holding some events at the Ellingswood's Corner United Methodist Church.

If you would like to lend a helping hand to the clean up process email the church at office@hampdenhighlands.me.