O.C. Church to Demolish Rectory Destroyed in Deadly Fire - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

O.C. Church to Demolish Rectory Destroyed in Deadly Fire

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OCEAN CITY, Md.- Boarded windows, charred wood, and a blue tarp draped across what used to be Shepherd's Crook, a food pantry in Ocean City, are a grim reminder of November 26th.

It was a morning Verla Hammond, of Ocean City, will never forget.

"It was hard the day of the fire but it has been hard everyday since," said Hammond. She attends Atlantic United Methodist Church, located across the street of Shepherd's Crook on Baltimore Ave.

"When you see the memorial flowers up there; you see the boards up there covering the windows and you just know of the devastation," said Hammond as she shook her head in disbelief. "There's sadness in your heart everyday."

Dana Truitt, of Ocean City, was in the rectory the day of the fire. Truitt said John Sterner, 56, of Ocean City, grabbed her arm after setting himself and Saint Paul's by the Sea Episcopal Church on fire. 

"His hand print is on my arm," said Truitt, as she tells WBOC Sterner's hand print is engraved on her hand. "I will never forget it [the incident] now because I can see his hand print on my arm."

Sterner died in the incident, as did the church's pastor Reverend David Dingwall. 

Dana has relived that nightmare everyday for the past four months. Now those memories and the building that have haunted her will be torn down.

"They can tear it down all they want, I mean it is still going to be there," said Truitt. "I don't care what you put there or what. They can rebuild it, do anything but the memories are still going to be there."

Church officials said Saint Paul's was evenly divided on the decision. Whether the church will build a new rectory is still unclear. But one thing is for certain.

"It will go on," said the director of Shepherd's Crook, Bruce Young. "I hope and I expect that Shepherd's Crook will be here five years, maybe ten years from now." 

Young and his group have hopped from place to place since flames tore through the rectory. They have until April 30th to find a new semi-permanent home.

"We got 28 days to get relocated somewhere," said Young.

But until then getting rid of the badly burned rectory and memories of November 26 are Dana's top concerns.

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