Contractor Mistake Leads To Alma Church Being Demolished

ALMA, Ark. (KFSM) — A church in Alma became a pile of rubble after construction workers made a major mistake. The pastor of the Alma Seventh-day Adventist Church says the error now has them looking for a new place to hold services.

Contractors were doing some excavation next to the church. They dug too deep, more in-depth than the church's footings. The footing slipped away, and the wall of the church began to fall.

"That was very sudden. Because we had been just in there and utilizing it. It was all we needed, adequate for us, but you know it just happened," Pastor Burnham Rand told 5NEWS.

The damage was inspected quickly by Pastor Rand, city officials, Alma's code enforcement officer and two structural engineers, who made the call to condemn the building.

"It's tragic that we have a building now that has things in it that you just can't replace. There's gonna be probably financial records and a lot of memories inside the building that you can't replace. But we can't make that more tragic by letting somebody in there, and then something happening," Alma Mayor Jerry Martin said.

According to Martin, engineers created specific guidelines for the contractors to avoid an issue like this from happening. In this instance, the contractors didn't stick to the plan.

"Having a situation happen like we ended up because somebody just simply did not follow the directions so to speak it. It is aggravating, it's frustrating," Martin said.

Pastor Rand said his church has not missed a service since the accident happened in mid-June. The United Methodist Church down the street has offered their building to his congregation, so he's keeping a positive outlook. But not everyone in the congregation has been able to be as positive.

"Unfortunately, some people are a little angry and upset, and I think it's because it is so emotional. Because when it happens your emotions are just brought up to the surface and what you do with them...I'm trying to make mine go toward a positive solution to where our problems are. But some people have a tendency to look towards negative things," Rand told 5NEWS.

The Alma Seventh-day Adventist Church will soon begin meeting to make building plans for a new church.

"We are going to rebuild, and we are excited about it," Rand said.

Insurance is going to help the church out, but won't cover everything. They lost everything inside and had to round up the money to demolish it after it was condemned.

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