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Published October 22, 2012, 08:45 AM

Bucyrus residents gather for prayer service

BUCYRUS, N.D. (AP) — Residents of a small southwestern North Dakota community nearly wiped out by a wildfire gathered in one of the buildings left standing in Bucyrus to find fellowship, even as some parts of the town continued to smolder.

BUCYRUS, N.D. (AP) — Residents of a small southwestern North Dakota community nearly wiped out by a wildfire gathered in one of the buildings left standing in Bucyrus to find fellowship, even as some parts of the town continued to smolder.

The fire last Wednesday covered more than 9 square miles and destroyed 24 structures. The town of about two dozen people lost four homes and a picture-framing business, but a privately owned elevator on the outskirts of town and the Bucyrus Lutheran Church were spared.

Residents gathered at the church for a special prayer service on Sunday, KXMB-TV reported.

"The whole community has been so thoughtful, so helpful," said Evelyn Krug, whose house across the street from the church was destroyed. "They're all here for us; we all know they're all here for us."

Krug and her husband, Mike, lost nearly everything in the fire.

"I grabbed my medication, I grabbed my purse, I grabbed my dog, I grabbed my prayer book. That's it," Krug said. "The people, I need to be with them."

Residents of the Adams County town near the South Dakota border were evacuated before the fire swept through the town, and no one was injured. Residents are pledging to keep the town alive.

"We're not quitters," said Bill Thompson, whose great-grandfather's 1906 homestead burned to the ground. "We take care of ourselves, basically. (The) community takes care of us. We don't sit around and wait for the government to fix our problems, and that's brought the community together."

The cause of the fire was not immediately determined. Lemmon, S.D.-based Dakota Plains Federal Credit Union has set up a relief fund.

Krug said she is staying positive.

"I think my faith will help. It already has gotten me this far. I think I have a pretty positive outlook on things," she said. "I'm not blaming anyone. I'm very thankful for the fire department and what they did for the whole community."

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