ADA — Demolition began Thursday afternoon on a historic Ada church destroyed by fire Tuesday.Crews from R.D. Jones Excavating, of Harrod, began scouting out First United Methodist Church in Ada on Thursday morning. Demolition began at 3:45 p.m.Crews began using a claw to knock down much of the building before switching to a wrecking ball for the front entrance and bell tower. By 4:15 p.m., the remaining frame around the iconic Rose Window had been knocked down completely. By dusk the bell tower was taken down and the entire front wall was no higher than the stone nameplate over the front entrance.Thursday morning, inspectors entered the burned-out church to see what could be saved and how to bring the 1899 structure down. They began handing some items, such as a guitar and books, out through a broken window near the church's music room.“The work will begin from the top down, carefully retaining as much of the stone as viably safe,” according to an email to church members. “Much of the west side will remain for further consideration when wise and intentional planning has happened.”The front half of the church should be down by midday today, although it could take weeks to clear the rubble. Church leaders hope to save the back of the structure.A crowd of nearly 50 people gathered to watch at the intersection of Main and Highland streets Thursday morning.The state fire marshal's office announced Wednesday it wouldn't be able to identify a definite cause of Tuesday's fire because of unsafe conditions, but it suspected an unattended candle ignited something flammable to start the fire on the eastern edge of the church.Long HistoryA landmark in Ada since 1899, it was actually the second church the Methodists had built in this Hardin County village.In February 1903, a fire started on the south side of the church, near the chimney. Between the volunteer fire department and the local crowd, the fire was put out but not before an estimated $7,000 damage was done. To show their appreciation to the Fire Department, church members served the firefighters a dinner and gave them a $66 donation.Throughout the years, the church continued to grow. When the congregation celebrated its centennial in 1999, then pastor, the Rev. Wayne Albertson, wrote, “This church is also set in the life of a small town and in the lives of individuals who, one by one and in their uniqueness influence its worship and ministry. And, the church is also the context for the life of the town and all those individuals whose lives it touched briefly or intimately and regularly for a lifetime.”You can comment on this story at LimaOhio.com.