Large fire destroys Owensville funeral home

Large fire destroys Owensville funeral home
Published: Feb. 5, 2023 at 7:30 AM CST
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GIBSON CO., Ind. (WFIE) - A large fire broke out early Sunday morning at Holder Funeral Home on S. Main Street in Owensville.

Dispatchers say fire crews were called out around 12:20 a.m. Sunday and were on scene for about five hours.

“I mean my brain is mush right now just to think of the thousands of families who’ve been cared for,” said Nathan Morris, owner of Morris Family Funeral Services.

Morris’ company bought the Holder funeral home and had been operating there for a couple of years.

“This isn’t [just] Holder Funeral Home, but it’s the funeral home,” Morris said.

Owensville residents said the building served as a landmark of the community’s history.

“It’s heart-wrenching,” Owensville resident Janet Smith said. “It is an icon to the community.”

The building was over 100 years old.

“It’s a piece of your heart, you know,” Smith said. “Like I said, I’ve lived here almost all my life, I moved here when I was three. But it’s, it’s very devastating to see.”

When the sun rose on Sunday morning, community hearts sank.

“I think of the family, who entrusted me, and gave me an opportunity to continue their legacy,” Morris said.

Now he faces a rebuild he’s determined to make.

“We will gather,” Morris said. “We will rebuild it. And we will make certain that this community can continue to rely upon us to care for them in their most delicate of times.”

Morris says he believes having the community is important, and that they will be there to support him and his staff.

Carrying on a century long legacy in Owensville, he could only look on as crews took to taking down the building that had stood for so long.

“What’s going through my mind is gratitude, and realization that the people, the people matter,” Morris said. “The building’s gone, but we aren’t.”

Morris says thankfully, no bodies were inside the funeral home at the time of the fire.

He says their last scheduled funeral happened Saturday morning, less than 24 hours before the fire broke out.

Officials say Owensville, Haubstadt, and Princeton Fire Departments all responded.

We are working to get more from information from fire officials.

The website for Holder shows they’ve been serving area families since 1855.

Holder shared a statement Sunday morning on social media:

“We are devastated by the loss of this historic building, a place of comfort to thousands over its many years. The loss is of the building only. No living or deceased were affected. We will begin the process of rebuilding as soon as it’s possible. In the meantime, we will continue to serve Gibson County with our other facilities in the region and in conjunction with local churches through the Owensville Ministerial Alliance. Thank you to our neighbors for notifying emergency services and to our Gibson County fire departments and ambulance service for swift action.”

Fire at Holders Funeral Home in Owensville
Fire at Holders Funeral Home in Owensville(Source: Melinda Barbour)
Fire at Holders Funeral Home in Owensville
Fire at Holders Funeral Home in Owensville(Source: Melinda Barbour)