Northern Idaho tribal church destroyed in fire

Lewston, Idaho (AP) 1-09

Members of a tribal church congregation in northern Idaho are mourning the loss of more than a century of religious history after their sanctuary burned down.

Corbett Wheeler, an elder at the Nez Perce Indian Northfork Presbyterian Church, says the congregation is still in shock after their Ahsahka building was destroyed in a fire Dec. 24.

Parishioners were only able to save a few Bibles and hymnals, while the church pulpit, pews, piano and just about everything else went up in flames. There were no known injuries.

Wheeler says he expects the congregation to rebuild on the site where the church was founded in 1890.

Clearwater County Sheriff Chris Goetz says the blaze is still under investigation, but a wood stove appears to have started the fire that engulfed the building.