Out in Portland, Oregon, a 117-year-old historic church has been slated for demolition in the wake of sustaining irreparable damage due to a fire this past week.
Police officials have taken into custody Cameron David Storer, a 27-year-old man who claims to go by the name of Nicolette Fait, for allegedly igniting a fire inside of the church. The office of Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt made reference to storer utilizing “they” pronouns in a press release when going over the charges.
Storer was slammed with charges of two counts of first-degree arson, two counts of second-degree burglary, and one count of second-degree arson.
Full-scale demolition of the entire 3,000-square-foot Old Portland Korean Church, which first opened its doors back in 1905, kicked off this past Friday after the three-alarm fire this past Tuesday. The choice to tear down the building was solidified after Portland Fire and Rescue determined with drone footage that the old building had been structurally damaged far too much to be repaired or saved.
Out of control! pic.twitter.com/jz2UeIEQfw
— R Renk (@RRenk3) January 4, 2023
The workers on site tore down the 100-year-old steeple of the main church building as a group of area preservationists stood on standby with the intent to at least save portions of the historic church. “They’re not very confident that those will be salvageable once the building gets knocked over,” explained a member of the area Architectural Heritage Center, Val Ballestrem, to local outlet KPTV. “Having a piece from the building really enforces our ability to tell that story.”
The group of preservationists still have a sliver of hope that they can save at least a few of the stained glass windows, the cornerstone of the building, and the historic weathervane.
The steeple of a historic Portland church came crashing down Friday afternoon. The building was more than a century old when an arsonist set a three-alarm fire that tore through the building Tuesday evening. pic.twitter.com/2YE5NtaOQK
— FOX 12 Oregon (@fox12oregon) January 6, 2023
“What was really interesting was how the main tower flexed. They pushed it pretty hard and it’s a pretty big machine and so it flexed before it fell, they really had to work hard. Whoever is operating that crane really has an unbelievable skill set to see how he will maneuver get stuff to where he needed and then push in the right direction. It’s a horrible thing to have happen but to see them take it down is pretty impressive,” explained one local, Hank Schottland.
Prior to the fire, the church had not been utilized actively for over 10 years, explained a police official. Authorities also stated that Storer wanted to “take credit” and made the claim that they utilized a Bic lighter to start the fire.