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Wed., Sep. 17
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Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York

Massena firefighters respond to call at former Baptist church

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MASSENA - Massena firefighters responded to a call at the former Baptist church at 98 Main St,, at the conrer of East Orvis Street in downtown Massena, shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday.

The brick structure held its last church services five years ago, ans the building is slated for demolition.

Louisville Fire provided mutual aid at the fire scene, and Massena Rescue also responded to the call. The vacant structure is being prepared for demolition. Firefighters remained on scene until 8:38 p.m.

A release from St. Lawrence County Dispatch provided no other details about the fire, which did not appear to have damaged the exterior of the structure. Firefighters were seen using fans to clear smoke from the building’s interior.

Richard E. Maginn, owner of Heritage Homes, purchased the church at Main and East Orvis streets and an adjacent house at 19 E. Orvis St. for $150,000. He plans to tear both buildings down and replace them with new development.

Asbestos abatement work had previously been completed at the former church building.

He said he does not have a definite plan for the parcel once the church is cleared away.

“It’s an investment,” Mr. Maginn said several months ago. “I really and truly want to put something nice there at some point ... I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen when that comes down.”

The cornerstone for First Baptist Church was laid in June 1859 and work was completed by July 1860 to house local Baptists, who trace their roots in Massena to the early 1800s.

In 1827, prominent early settler Col. Uriah H. Orvis built a frame house on West Orvis Street to hold religious meetings, according to “History of Massena: An Orphan Town,” written by Eleanor L. and Nina E. Dumas.

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