WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 22, 2012, 09:46 PM

Bucyrus residents gather around remaining church from disastrous fire

Bucyrus, ND (WDAY TV) - Families in and around the small town of Bucyrus are still coping with the destruction of that area.

Bucyrus, ND (WDAY TV) - Families in and around the small town of Bucyrus are still coping with the destruction of that area.

One of the few structures to survive the fire: the church. And all of the locals gathered there for an emotional and inspiring service.

One of those attending the service is a Fargo woman, she grew up in Bucyrus, and was there the night fire scorched more than 9 miles destroying 24 structures -- one of them, her grandparents’ home.

This is how people in Bucyrus saw it -- first smoke, then a monster fire line racing straight toward them.

Amidst what Cindy Werlinger calls sheer panic, she was able to catch these shots on her phone.

Cindy Werlinger, Grew Up In Bucyrus: "Things were exploding, I mean it was crazy. When you see it on TV or something it's different than being there with the smoke and chaos."

Wind gusts at this point were well into the 60s. Werlinger says some areas didn't stand a chance. Fire was shooting over roads like it was blasting from a blowtorch.

Werlinger: "It would just jump off a building. It went into a culvert and just shot fire through a culvert."

Werlinger's family was scrambling to save anything. People were cutting wire fences to give cattle an escape, farmers rushing to get millions of dollars worth equipment out of harm’s way.

This is an overhead shot of her grandparents’ home.

After Wednesday, the house is gone, a barn melted, the property is black -- everything but this, her dad's tractor and semi somehow spared.

Luckier than most. Some lost everything. Inside Bucyrus the town's little church is about all that's left standing.

Werlinger: "Right next door my high school friend, her family lost their whole house behind the church was gone and like two or three houses down burned those and the kitty corner from the church so it was so strange."

But this Sunday, in the middle of that destruction -- residents gave thanks. Thankful their church still stands and everyone who lives here does too.

Werlinger says it's an area filled with people who'd never ask for help but if you'd like to contribute a fund has been set up at Dakota Plains Federal Credit Union out of Lemmon, South Dakota.