IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — Crews responded to a fire at a church in Ionia on Thursday.

Firefighters were called to Zion United Methodist Church on W. Washington Street east of M-66 around 5:40 p.m. When they arrived, there was smoke coming from the roof and flames could be seen in a second-story window, Ionia Department of Public Safety Deputy Director Kevin Heinlein said.

People were inside the building when the fire started, but everyone got out, firefighters say. No one was hurt.

The south side of the building sustained “extensive damage,” Ionia DPS said in a Facebook post, but damage to the sanctuary, where worship happens, was limited.

  • Crews fight a fire at Zion United Methodist Church in Ionia on Jan. 5, 2023. (Courtesy Ionia Department of Public Safety)
  • Crews fight a fire at Zion United Methodist Church in Ionia on Jan. 5, 2023. (Courtesy Ionia Department of Public Safety)
  • Crews respond to a fire at Zion United Methodist Church on W. Washington Street in Ionia on Jan. 5, 2023.
  • Crews respond to a fire at Zion United Methodist Church on W. Washington Street in Ionia on Jan. 5, 2023.
  • Crews respond to a fire at Zion United Methodist Church on W. Washington Street in Ionia on Jan. 5, 2023.
  • Crews respond to a fire at Zion United Methodist Church on W. Washington Street in Ionia on Jan. 5, 2023.
  • Crews respond to a fire at Zion United Methodist Church on W. Washington Street in Ionia on Jan. 5, 2023.
  • Crews respond to a fire at Zion United Methodist Church on W. Washington Street in Ionia on Jan. 5, 2023.
  • Crews respond to a fire at Zion United Methodist Church on W. Washington Street in Ionia on Jan. 5, 2023.
  • Crews respond to a fire at Zion United Methodist Church on W. Washington Street in Ionia on Jan. 5, 2023.
  • Crews fight a fire at Zion United Methodist Church in Ionia on Jan. 5, 2023. (Courtesy Ionia Department of Public Safety)

Ionia DPS credited a “strong team effort” with five other departments — Berlin-Orange, Lyons-Muir, Saranac, Ronald Township and Belding — for keeping the fire from overtaking the church.

“Churches are real big so we want as … much help here as we can get, as fast as we can get,” Heinlein said.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

According to the Zion United Methodist’s website, the church was built in 1886. At the time, it was an Evangelical Association. That association later merged with the United Brethren Church and eventually the United Methodist Church in 1968, at which point the church got its current name.