Flames were seen shooting out of the roof of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago's Englewood community as a fire ravaged the historic building Friday afternoon.
Video posted on Twitter by the Chicago Fire Department at approximately 2:15 p.m. showed multiple fire trucks on scene at the church, 6248 S. Steward Ave., as flames and heavy smoke poured out of the structure.
Just hours earlier, church members converged on the building for a Good Friday service, but had left by the time the fire broke out, according to Rev. Gerald Dew, pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.
"If we’ve to lose something, losing it on good Friday is the best time to lose it because after Good Friday comes resurrection Sunday," Dew said, offering a message to church members. "God has something better for all us that love and belong to the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church. I love you, you are in my prayers."
When firefighters arrived at the scene, they encountered a heavy amount of flames coming from the roof, said Donald Walker, assistant deputy commissioner of the Chicago Fire Department.
More than 180 firefighters and at least 50 fire vehicles responded to the scene. The building's truss roof, which made battling the flames especially difficult, had collapsed in the hours following the fire.
Although no injuries were reported, it wasn't immediately known if anyone was inside at the time of the fire, officials said. The cause remained under investigation late Friday afternoon.
The church, described as an anchor in the community for helping neighbors through numerous initiatives, isn't going anywhere, the pastor said.
"...All this does for us is gives us a greater reason to redouble our efforts to be intentional about our involvement and commitment to this community," Dew stated.
The fire was contained at approximately 4:30 p.m., but firefighters remained on scene, working to extinguish hot spots.