Tree crashes through Brookfield church roof during evening service
No injuries reported after 130 parishioners evacuated
Members of Victory International Fellowship are in cleanup mode after a large tree fell through the church's roof at the height of Wednesday's severe storms.
Lead pastor Rory Grooters said about 130 men, women and children were inside the church, near Calhoun and Burleigh roads, at 7 p.m., when the tree fell.
"What I thought was loud thunder was actually the tree falling through the roof," Grooters said.
Adults were in the sanctuary, teens were in the gym and young kids were in the children's wing, away from where the tree had fallen.
Members immediately went into disaster mode and safely evacuated everyone from the building using the church's policies and procedures.
"I am very proud of our members because no one panicked," Grooters said. "The disaster was handled well."
The city of Brookfield's Fire and Police departments responded, along with the city's tree service, which decided not to remove the tree right away.
The damage is contained to an area where three halls meet and one classroom sits, none of which were in use during Wednesday's service.
"There was cascading water, like Niagara Falls," Grooters said. "You could see the lightning flashing and see the ceiling hanging."
No one was injured, and the children, happy to be reunited with their parents, weren't shaken up.
"The kids were laughing and thought it was cool," Grooters said. "They didn't panic at all."
The church plans to hold its regular service at 10 a.m. Sunday.
"We have plans to patch the roof and replace the carpet," Grooters said.
Grooters estimates the damage to be near the $100,000 mark.
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