Local News

Sep 29, 2013 7:39 PM by Elizabeth Hughes

Fire Damages Church During Sunday Services

CORPUS CHRISTI -It was a close call for the 160 year old First United Methodist Church on Sunday morning.

Firefighters were called out around 7:30 am Sunday for a smoke alarm call that turned out to be a fire.

People inside the church saw the lights flash on and off, and noticed smoke crawling the walls all around them. Firefighters arrived on scene within minutes.

Battallion Chief Kenneth Erben says they were not sure if the fire had spread, but did'nt take any chances.

"We have the fire contained, but we are trying to confirm and make sure all the power is off coming into the building, and make sure our guys are safe."

Firefighters say a conduit, more than 50 years old, heated up under the building. The temperatures were so hot, that they started to burn the electrical wires, located at the center of the church. The boxes became engulfed with smoke, and that's when the smoke began spreading to other areas of the church.

Senior Pastor Greg Hackett says he was one of the first to smell the smoke inside one of the church corridors. He says he and other church members heard the fire alarm go off and smelled smoke, so they found the first exit to safety.

They were not sure how bad the fire was until the fire department showed up. They waited outside on the sidewalk while firefighters enetered the building.

Firefighters found the source of the fire right away in the center room.

The room was filled with plastic storage boxes and other flamable items where the conduit overheated.

No one was hurt in the fire, but members were encourage to avoid the effected areas for a few days because of the danger of smoke inhalation.

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