The historic church was an icon in Owensboro for more than 150 years. Monday hundreds of bystanders gathered around to watch demolition crews take down several walls and the church's steeple. Fire officials say the three-alarm fire weakened the structure -- creating a potentially dangerous situation. Crews knew the steeple needed to be demolished after an engineer surveyed it and learned it had been compromised by the blaze. Chief Steve Mitchell, Owensboro Fire Department, tells Eyewitness News debris the steeple could have spread more than a block if it had collapsed.
Fire fighters are working through the night Monday night -- using box trucks to keep water on hot spots inside the building. Chief Mitchell says the church was built with heavy timber, which further fueled the flames. Investigators suspect the overnight thunderstorm caused the fire, but an official cause will be determined in the coming weeks.
Watch the above video to see the demolition in progress and hear the somber accounts of bystanders who watched the building come down.