It was pouring rain around 2 a.m. Tuesday, but the Rev. Pat Bittel and several volunteers didn’t let that stop them from starting the work that needed to be done to cook some 3,000-4,000 pounds of meat for the annual St. Martin Catholic Church barbecue later in the day.

After pouring diesel fuel on the several truckloads of wood and the straw lining the open pits that stretched about 20 feet, the volunteers had little trouble igniting the fire by about 2:45 a.m., said Bittel, the parish priest.

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