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Historic Church in Milton Hit by Fire

MILTON, Pa. — Thick black smoke covered most of Milton and even spread five miles away as flames came out of the roof of Bethany United Methodist Church. ...

MILTON, Pa. -- Thick black smoke covered most of Milton and even spread five miles away as flames came out of the roof of Bethany United Methodist Church.

Fire crews from all over north-central Pennsylvania worked to save this iconic piece of Milton's skyline.

"The building may be wrecked and on fire, but the church will stand forever," said Reverend William McNeal.

The church along South Front Street here in Milton has been around for almost 140 years. When fire crews saw it up in smoke, they knew they had to act quickly.

"Coming here and knowing what it was, and then seeing, you know, what it looked like when we got here, it was just that extra drive of we have to save this," said fire chief Joe Stump.

Before fire crews arrived, people scrambled to salvage what they could from inside like altar cloths.

"People in the community have been working to carry stuff out. So it's a community church, and it will stay that way, whether the building is here or not," said Reverend McNeal.

A staple in this community since the 1800s, the church holds special meaning for many, including sisters Alyssa and Katelyn Williams.

"We were baptized here. Our parents were married here. We went here with our grandmother for many years, so the connection we have with the friends and the family. It's devastating," said Alyssa Williams.

"When I saw the smoke coming out of the roof earlier this afternoon. My heart just broke," said Katelyn Williams.

A state police fire marshal is working to determine how the fire started.

The church has already started a GoFundMe page to help pay for the damages.