This article first appeared in the Whitman County Gazette on June 3, 2021. By Bill Stevenson

PINE CITY – The Babb Road Fire in 2020 destroyed the Pine City rock church so completely, even the rocks are unusable.

Spokane-based Belsby Horrocks Engineering volunteered a structural engineer to evaluate what’s left of the building.

“The fire burned so hot that it compromised the strength of the stones and (the engineer) deemed it unsafe to hold a new structure. The only choice left was to take the building down,” stated Louise Belsby, president of Pine City Historical Society.

Last year the historical society hoped to receive Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to restore the historic church.

“We are planning on saving enough stones to build a monument on the site and any left-over stones will be available for members of the Pine City Historical Society for a donation,” stated Belsby.

The St. John Rural Relief put a safety fence around the building until the remnants of the building are dismantled and the basement filled in.

The fire burned everything but the stone walls. Pews, benches, bell tower, and pulpit were destroyed along with everything else burnable, stated Belsby.