On Sunday afternoon, the steeple of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Beecher caught fire, resulting in a total loss of the church.

The church caught fire around 1:30 p.m. Sunday as the congregation was hosting its annual Oktoberfest celebration. 

 The first fire suppression crew to arrive was met with heavy smoke and fire in the north end of the church in the area of the steeple.

Additional resources were then called to the scene through a MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) request. Crews then attempted to make entry via the south end of the church and found heavy smoke and fire conditions in the vaulted ceiling of the chapel area.

Knowing at this point that the church could not be saved, they declared it a defensive operation and worked to keep the fire from spreading to surrounding structures. The box alarm was elevated again and more resources were called to the scene.

In total, more than 30 emergency agencies responded to the scene throughout the afternoon. The effort included 10 engine companies, five truck/tower ladders, 12 tenders, five ambulances and 11 chief officers.

READ MORE. Photos provided by fire department photographer Tim Olk.