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Beckington Baptist church suffers serious smoke damage

Beckington Baptist church, in Somerset, a grade II listed building originally constructed in 1786 suffered smoke and fire damage following a fire caused by an electrical failure in the church’s consumer unit and fuse boards.

The church has recently refurbished its facilities, which it shares with Beckington pre-school and is a vibrant part of village life. Its mothers and toddlers group is a vital link for many new parents moving into the village offering them a friendly space to meet new people and find out more about village activities. The church hall is the venue for a local choir, ballet and Irish dance groups and the Beckington Astronomical Society.
On Sunday 5th January, having got cold preaching at another church service, Reverend White called in at Beckington Baptist church to check that the church heating was on in preparation for the afternoon service later that day.  Reverend White said: “I found the building full of smoke and traced it to the incoming electrical supply. I used the church’s Co2 extinguisher straight away and called the fire brigade who stayed at the church for four hours to make sure the building was safe.”

Although the majority of the fire damage was confined to the church’s entrance lobby, it destroyed the church’s electrical heating and lighting, there was a lot of smoke damage. The church’s organ, which is directly above the entrance lobby, was badly affected by the smoke and required specialist cleaning.

Jeremy Baugh, Technical Claims Handler at Baptist Insurance said: “The fire damaged the electrical incoming supply and all but the ante rooms at the back of the hall suffered smoke damage. We appointed Quadra Claims Services who carried out an initial inspection of the church. They found the wiring and pew heaters were over 40 years old and no longer complied with wiring regulations. One of the first things we did was to arrange for reinstatement of the electrical supply to allow church services and school classes to resume. We also brought in one of our fire damage restoration specialists to assist with cleaning of the church building and its contents affected by smoke damage.”

Talking about his experience of the Baptist Insurance claims process Reverend White said: “Overall the church was out of action for about a month, once the rooms at the back of the church hall had been cleaned we were able to hold services in there while work continued in the main church building. The claim was managed well and the cleaning firm, appointed by Baptist Insurance, did an excellent job.

“A few years ago I was questioning the cost of insurance but I certainly do not question it anymore. I would say to people who think ‘it won’t happen to me’ it might. It happened to us and without insurance it will ruin you.”

Baptist Insurance’s church policy has the option to include cover for loss of income from an insured event such as fire or flood. This means that if a church has groups, known as outside users, who regularly rent the premises the church is covered from the loss of income from these booking when the church is unusable while the restoration and repairs are taking place.

Our website has a library of useful resources to help keep your to keep your church safe and secure. There are template risk assessment forms you can download and fill in as well as best practice guidance for events, health and safety and fire safety.

Call us now for a quote 0845 070 2223
The Baptist Insurance Company PLC (BIC) Reg. No. 83597. Registered in England at Beaufort House, Brunswick Road, Gloucester, GL1 1JZ. The Baptist Insurance Company PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, Firm Reference Number 202032.