The Virginia Dale Community Church was completely destroyed by a
fire reported around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.
Eloise Campanella of the Larimer County Sheriff’s office said
that the cause of the fire was arson. Although there are no
suspects at this time, the sheriffs department is following up on
The historic church had stood for 123 years and still held
services once a month. Pastor Richard Groh, who is also the pastor
at Prospect Community Church, led the services.
“I want to meet the fellow (who did this),” Groh said. “I’m
going to shake his hand and tell him, ‘You’re forgiven. ‘”
Many businesses have offered to donate and help rebuild the
“I think it’s going to be a positive thing,” Groh said. “The
response has been absolutely astronomical.”
There have recently been a number of arson fires in Larimer
County, Groh said.
Norma Dent, who has attended Virginia Dale Community Church
intermittently since she was 2 years old, totaling nearly seven
decades, is disgusted by the news of her church being intentionally
“It’s a very sick person that does something like that,” Dent
said. “It destroyed a lot of memories.”
Among the material items destroyed, one item in particular held
fond memories for Dent, a display for those were baptized at the
church. Dent said that there were pink ribbons labeled with the
names of each female who was baptized and blue ribbons for all the
males. Although the church and many memories were lost in the
blaze, the congregation plans to overcome its difficulties.
“We’re going to have a meeting Wednesday night and go from
there,” Dent said. “They haven’t defeated us.”
Among those who responded to the fire, was Mike Golliher, a
volunteer for the Livermore Fire Department. Golliher said that by
the time he arrived on the scene, although the fire was not yet
extinguished, the church was almost totally destroyed.
“I was sad to see it go,” Golliher said. “It’s a shame.”
The church has opened an account at First National Bank and is
accepting donations under the title of Virginia Dale Community
Church Donation Fund.