Volunteer killed in gas grill explosion at Noblesville church

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Police have identified the volunteer killed in a gas grill explosion at Grace Community Church as 52-year-old Doug Gripp.

The incident happened at the Noblesville church Monday afternoon.

Officials said a man was helping to prepare for the church’s men’s ministry kickoff when the grill, which was owned by Gripp, exploded.

“It was large enough to be heard, to be felt by people in the immediate area,” said Lt. Bruce Barnes with the Noblesville Police Department.

noblesvillechurchChurch leaders were expecting about 400 people to show up to the event. Only volunteers were at the church at the time of the explosion.

“We’re in shock, (Gripp’s wife) is in shock and we’re trusting God for her life, for their life, for the family, and for our people here,” said Senior Pastor Dave Rodriguez.

Church leaders said Gripp was a beloved and committed volunteer in the men’s ministry.

“I would say to our congregation: This is a time to go to God,” said Rodriguez. “This is a time to take all of our fears and our pain and even our frustrations with God at this point and just take it to him and speak to him and let him speak to us.”

The church also released the following statement Monday:

“We are saddened to inform you of a tragic accident that took place at Grace Church earlier this afternoon. A gas grill explosion occurred while final preparations were underway for the Men of Grace BBQ. One of our Men of Grace volunteers was killed. No one else was injured in this incident….

“We are in the process of caring for the volunteer’s family, loved ones and the Men of Grace community. This is a heartbreaking time for all of us. Let’s unite together and pray for God’s presence and comfort for all those involved.

“We will communicate more specific information as details are made available to us.”

Pastors will be available until 10 p.m. in Town Square Monday. Pastors will also be available at the Central Auditorium beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

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