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Location: Fredonia, NY
Date: May 2018
Facility Size: 80’ Clock Tower and Church
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Loss Type: Fire

In May 2018, like a scene out of Back to the Future, lighting struck the clock tower of a church located in Fredonia, NY. The resulting fire severely damaged the 80’ clock tower and large portions of the sanctuary. The client wanted to save the historic tower bell and restore the remainder of the facility. Adding to the challenge, the church was originally built in 1856 and the fire caused significant structural damage making conditions extremely dangerous. Before restoration could begin appropriate measures had to be taken to ensure the safety of anyone working in the facility. Some of these precautions included constructing 4’x4’ cribbing under the tower bell, utilizing dry ice blasting and encapsulation on the framing timbers and roof decking and creating negative air flow containment in the attic to exhaust CO2.


ServiceMaster Recovery Management (SRM) was able to quickly establish all necessary safety precautions and begin restoring the historic property. The tower bell was able to be saved, even though it was in several pieces within the bell tower. Using several vital pieces of equipment such as 80’ boom lifts, 80’ sky-tracker, bobcats and elaborate scaffolding SRM was able to not only salvage the bell but remove what remained of the tower itself.


Once the bell had been saved and the tower removed, SRM was able to construct a temporary roof to protect the sanctuary from further water damage. All of this was accomplished within 5 days of the loss. Meanwhile, the temporary solutions used by SRM during the tower removal effectively saved the rest of the facility from further damage. With the temporary roof in place, SRM was able to remove the fire damaged plaster from the interior walls and ceiling, safely encapsulating materials as needed and successfully completing the remediation. 


In the end, the client and Pastor were very pleased with the work SRM completed even commenting on how fast and efficiently SRM was able to complete the job. The Pastor was especially happy that SRM was able to salvage the tower bell and that the project went as smoothly as possible.

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