Hours after services were over on Sunday afternoon at the Mountain Christian Fellowship church in Mount Shasta, the sanctuary’s roof completely caved in with tons of wet snow.

Hours after services were over on Sunday afternoon at the Mountain Christian Fellowship church in Mount Shasta, the sanctuary’s roof completely caved in with tons of wet snow.

“The timing of this calamity has not sunk in yet,” said church Elder Dan Cowan. “If it had happened just a few hours earlier, who knows how truly tragic it could have been.”

The Mountain Christian Fellowship, located at 2325 S. Mt. Shasta Boulevard, has a large court yard with high concrete walls that used to hold up the roof of a large grocery store, said Elder John Diehm.

“Decades ago that roof collapsed under heavy snow, leaving only roof sections in the back that were supported by interior walls,” Diehm said. “The church has been occupying that site for about 20 years. The remaining structure has been remodeled, carefully following engineering guidelines and fortifying the building.”

“Called to the scene afterwards and peering in through the back door by the sound booth, I could hardly believe my eyes. Our blue pews that are normally filled with worshipers on an average Sunday morning service were buried under so much debris I could hardly make them out. Broken beams, structural lumber, plywood, electrical fixtures, insulation, and heavy wet snow covered everything,” Cowan said. “It literally looked like a tornado had struck or a bomb had gone off.”

Cowan praised God that everyone had already gone home when the cave-in occurred.

Experts are evaluating the structural soundness of the rest of the building this week. If deemed safe, services will be held in the church's fellowship hall next week, Diehm said.