Austin Avenue Church of Christ Buildings Damaged During Monday Night Storm
High winds and heavy rain moved through Brownwood Monday night downing power lines and trees, but the brunt of the storm was felt at Austin Avenue Church of Christ. The church sustained damage to two buildings losing the metal roof to their Family Life Center as well as damage to their auditorium from water leaking through that roof.
Minister Tom Washburn and church members were at the buildings after the storm moved through to assess the damage with debris and metal scattered around the parking lot and in the trees.
“The Family Life Center is absolutely flooded; it’s gone, with an inch or two of water all the way through it. I’m not sure what will be able to be reserved in there,” Washburn said. “The good news is, we were thinking about remodeling that building so now it has just been decided for us.”
Their main church auditorium sustained water damage as well with water leaking and pooling at the front of the room.
“We have 2 to 3, some places 4 inches of water in the front end of the auditorium. About a quarter of the pews are soaked, the pads are soaked,” Washburn said. “I came in here when it was still raining and it looked like a rainforest in here.”
Washburn said that water was pouring down between the ceiling’s wood slats in the auditorium at that time causing the water damage and damaging a drop ceiling in part of the building.
“Since it was coming through the joints of the slat boards, I’m pretty sure when this dries out its going to expand out and crack,” Washburn said. “I can’t imagine that we are not going to have to replace the carpet.”
Washburn said that they will begin assessing the scope of the damage on Tuesday and figure out an alternate location to hold worship services until the damage can be repaired.
“For the next month we will be deciding how and where to do worship, we aren’t sure right now,” Washburn said. “Tomorrow the ministry team will get together and we’ll figure out what we want to do, how we want to do the things that are ahead of us. We just don’t know what we are looking at right now.“
Washburn said that the church will want to use the storm damage and upcoming repairs as a chance to better minister to those in the community.
“I’m going to try and present this as an opportunity for us to fix things so that we can do ministry better, help minister to our neighborhood better,” Washburn said.
Although no one was injured during the storm, Washburn said that the church wants to keep it that way until they can clean up debris on the property.
“No one was here, no one got hurt. We are concerned that we don’t want a lot of people around until all of this is cleaned up,” Washburn said. “We even have some power lines that are lying on our metal fences. Until those things are removed, we don’t want people around in those areas. The last thing we want is for someone to get hurt.”
See photos below of some of the damage to the church buildings.
Minister Tom Washburn speaking with Fire Marshal Buddy Preston inside the damaged auditorium.
Water pooling in the front of the sanctuary.
The roof piled onto the parking lot after it blew off.
Roof peeled off of the Family Life Center.
Brownwood Fire Department leaving the scene of the damaged church.