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Furnace malfunction temporarily closes New Sharon church

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NEW SHARON – Sunday’s 9 a.m. service at the New Sharon United Methodist Church will be held as scheduled its pastor said today, as the clean up continues after last week’s furnace malfunction covered the church interior with a layer of soot film and the acrid smell of smoke.

Pastor Karen Garcia said the Christmas Eve service was a cold one at the 175-year-old church, so a heating repair service was called, arrived on Christmas day and repaired the furnace. Two days later, the furnace apparently got flooded with too much heating fuel oil, Garcia said.

Firefighters were called to the church on Starks Road at 7:50 p.m. Saturday night after receiving a report of heavy smoke coming from the church. The furnace had burned off the excess oil and in doing so, created heavy black smoke that filled the church, Garcia said.

Last weekend’s planned events such as service on Sunday morning and a rescheduled Cantata that night had to be cancelled because of the damage. A funeral service for long-time church member Ray Browning set for Monday afternoon had to be moved from the church to a funeral home.

Today, Garcia is waiting for an insurance adjuster to appraise the damage to the church so cleaners can come in and wipe down the interior.

“There is still an odor in the building and a film on everything,” she said. But, even if the cleaning can’t be completed by Sunday morning, Garcia said she plans to hold the Sunday morning service – smell or no smell.

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