Vermont church ceiling suddenly collapses; person inside injured

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PERKINSVILLE, Vt. (WCAX) – A church in Vermont is no longer open to the public after its ceiling collapsed on Monday night. Now the immediate concern is that the rest of the building may disappear.

The church in the middle of Perkinsville is a gathering point for the community. However, his future is now uncertain.

“I was shocked and devastated to think this had happened to our church,” said Gloria Ballantine, who has been a member of the Perkinsville Community Church for 70 years.

The current state of the church gives Ballantine pause: plaster, wood and plasterboard are strewn across the pews.

“We don’t have a church every Sunday, but it is used regularly for many things. It’s the center of the village and it’s the only building we really have in town,” Ballantine said.

The ceiling unexpectedly gave way on Monday night as a yoga class extended to the basement.

West Weathersfield Fire Chief Josh Dauphin was the first on the scene.

“There was a class going on downstairs. Once we got access here, we noticed that the ceiling of the church had collapsed,” Dauphin said.

Everyone got away unscathed.

On Tuesday, a structural engineer and a state fire official inspected the damage. It is currently deemed unsafe to enter. Most properties are cordoned off.

“Work to get the building, the exterior exterior shored up, and try to get the rest of that ceiling down so we don’t have a complete collapse of the building,” Dauphin said.

The church was built in 1832. A hundred years later it was rebuilt after a fire. Now the house of worship has once again fallen on hard times.

“It’s really sad, but I’m so grateful that no one was hurt,” Ballantine said.

Church officials say it’s too early to determine what’s next for the structure. They ask the public to keep this community in their prayers.

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