CHANDLER, Okla. (KFOR) – More than a year after wildfires burned down a historic Chandler church, a substance abuse recovery program is celebrating its grand opening. The church has a new purpose and leaders are saying maybe there was a purpose behind the blaze.

“We didn’t see the blessing to come, but God did,” said Michael Bateman, CEO of The Jeremiah Church.

The Jeremiah House in Chandler looks a lot different than it did in March 2022. In January, Lincoln County Deputies arrested Chad Hutson for sparking six wildfires, that burned through 400-acres of the county ten months before.

According to court documents, Hutson confessed he had “uncontrollable urges to set fires but would immediately feel remorse,” that Hutson believes, “might be from a possible brain injury he thought he sustained as a child.”

The Forest Baptist Church, a Chandler staple since 1947, was destroyed in by the flames. It’s new owner, The Jeremiah House, planned for it to be a place of worship for their substance abuse recovery program.

“Ember caught the top of our church and you can see the results,” Bateman told News 4 in 2022. “The rafters, the roof, everything is caved in. I mean, it’s just inundated with smoke and everything.”

Fast forward to Wednesday, the Jeremiah House is set to help men who experienced substance abuse and mental health disorders.

“We’ll set their individual service plans up and then about three quarters of the way we’ll start working on them, an exit plan as well and what we call beyond recovery,” said Bateman. “Phones have been ringing off the hook and partner agencies, local tribes, so many places that need our help.”

To help with that, the house is now packed with all donated items in the kitchen, dorm rooms, and other special areas.

“And of course you can’t have a recovery program without a pool table and a ping pong table,” said Bateman.

The Jeremiah House said they had their first intake of patients around 2:00 p.m. Wednesday.

“We’re not going to go anywhere. And we’re so excited,” Bateman said.