25 February 2018 | Vandals broke into an Adventist Church in Silverton, Oregon earlier this month causing damage estimated as being in excess of $50,000. Silverton Seventh-day Adventist Church has been temporarily shut down.
It appears that the vandals broke through a classroom window at the church. They emptied fire extinguishers of their contents all over a number of rooms and a hallway. In addition, the vandals left “graffiti, including lewd and anti-Christian messages and a swastika,” according to a report by the Statesman Journal.
“The Sanctuary was not actually damaged, but the white chemical powder from the fire extinguishers down the hall drifted throughout the building leaving a coating of the caustic chemical all over the place which needs to be cleaned up prior to letting people back in,” said Silverton Police Chief Jeff Fossholm.
“The high velocity in which the extinguishing agent’s fine particulate matter is expelled from the extinguisher allows it to free flow within a building and its duct work,” said Silverton Assistant Fire Chief Ed Grambusch. He added that the chemicals from the extinguishers can cause “severe coughing and sneezing, and larger doses can cause gastrointestinal problems. It can also degrade fabrics in clothes and furniture, and it can be severely irritating to the skin.”
The damage was discovered on February 10. It is not yet clear how long the approximately 70 weekly parishioners will be forced to worship elsewhere.
“We’re saddened that this would happen in the Silverton community,” said Dan Linrud, president of the Oregon Conference of the Adventist denomination. “Yet we are thankful that the damage wasn’t worse. I’m amazed at how God can use these difficult circumstances to bring people closer together.