Landmark church in Deco District faces costly repairs after winter storm

Several feet of water seep beneath the church floor

SAN ANTONIO – A small pump wasn’t enough to take out the water that had found its way beneath the floor of Jefferson Community Church, a Deco District landmark, after last week’s winter storms.

“After two days, it didn’t look like it had moved at all,” said Pastor Olivia Walker, who had attended the church as a child.

Thinking a water line had burst, Walker went to investigate and said she found several feet of what she believes was melted snow in the basement and sub-basement. The water was as deep as four feet in some areas.

The time had come to get a bigger pump. At last check, Walker said only about a quarter-inch remained.

When last week’s beautiful blanket of snow that covered the church had melted, it came in through the gaps around the foundation, Walker said.

She said the sanctuary was spared, but water covered the floors of storage areas and choir rooms.

Not only that, she said, “We’ve got 10 air conditioning units down there, and those are huge commercial units.”

Walker said all this comes a month before Jefferson Community Church celebrates its 75th anniversary. Its congregation, now with only about 100 members, had already made costly repairs and improvements trying to shore up the building.

Although Walker said she plans to file an insurance claim and apply for federal relief, the church still needs all the help it can get.

She said fundraising efforts had yielded less than $1,000 so far.

“We really need to do something to make sure this never happens to us again,” Walker said.

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.