Fire Damages West Side Church

Cause of fire at New Life Temple Church of God in Christ is under investigation

By BJ Lutz and Glenn Marshall
|  Saturday, May 28, 2011  |  Updated 2:51 PM CDT
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New Life Temple officials called the early-morning fire

Glenn Marshall

New Life Temple officials called the early-morning fire "heartbreaking" but vowed to rebuild.

A Saturday morning fire caused extensive damage to a west side church.

Crews responded just after 6 a.m. to the New Life Temple Church of God in Christ, at 3540 W. 15th St., and found flames flicking through the roof, said fire department spokesman Joe Roccasalva.

The fire was quickly elevated a second alarm, he said.

"Everything was fine (during Friday evening's service), said Evangelist Elondia Brown.  "We made sure all of the electricals were cut off and everything was shut off, and even put the alarm service and we locked up."

A police official said it appears the fire started on the first floor, near the pulpit.  It was not known if any religious artifacts were destroyed.

By the time the fire was put out, at about 6:40 a.m., extensive damage had been done to the building.

"It's very heartbreaking.  It's disturbing because we had a beautiful edifice with beautiful stained glass windows.  It was purple; purple representing royalty and God and gold," said Brown.

Pastor Samuel Brown said New Life has been in the building for a little more than a year and vowed to rebuild.

"Church services will go on as planned.  In times of crisis, you always band together and you bond because it's family... You bond together and you make things work," he said.

No injuries were reported and the cause and origin were not known immediately.  The fire is being investigated by the Office of Fire Investigation and the Police Bomb & Arson Section.

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