East Greenwich church closed due to weather, officials concerned belfry might collapse

By Ana Bottary

abottary@abc6.com

St. Luke’s church in East Greenwich closed until further notice. Town officials are not taking any chances, with stormy weather ahead, and the churches large stone belfry in bad shape. 

"The storm that is approaching us, the engineers were concerned about winds gusting to 30 miles and over that could really topple and collapse the steeple,"says Town Manager Thomas Coyle III

The belfry has begun to deteriorate over time, And during a thunderstorm a little over a month ago it was hit by lightning. After that, the town had structural engineers check it out, that’s when they found just how bad of shape it was in. Alex Champagne lives just a few houses down from the church, and fears what could happen if that steeple fell.  

"I think it would leave a lot of damage, t’s a pretty big steeple and it seems like it would leave a lot of damage if it fell," Says Champagne.

Just across the street at the library, signs read they wont be open until at least October 5th due to safety concerns over the steeple. Fences around the church have been put up to block off the street, sidewalks, and these three utility poles, one with three transformers on it. The barricade meant to keep people out of harms way. 

Ii’m hear back from the structural engineers to come back with a stabalized plan so we can start working on the steeple asap,"says Town Manager Coyle.

(c)WLNE-TV/ABC6 News