Antioch Missionary Baptist Church companies shall be held at Calahan Funeral Dwelling at 7030 South Halsted Avenue at 10:00 a.m. Sunday, the church mentioned.
Firefighters have been known as to the church within the 6300-block of South Stewart Avenue round 2:15 p.m. Friday. A hearth appeared to have began on an higher ground and rapidly unfold all through the construction.
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By 2:25 p.m., CFD had escalated their response to a 2-11, after which to a 3-11 at 3:07 p.m. Greater than 194 firemen and 54 apparatuses responded to the scene, the hearth division mentioned.
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A lot of the constructing’s truss roof had collapsed by 3:00 p.m., division spokesman Larry Langford mentioned. No injures have been reported and the reason for the hearth stays unclear.
It was unclear if anybody was contained in the church when firefighters have been dispatched, he mentioned. The hearth appeared to start within the higher rear of the church, the place crews first observed heavy smoke. Flames could possibly be seen popping out home windows of the church in a video posted to social media.
“This church is an anchor on this group,” mentioned Lead Pastor Gerald Dew. “It is a place the place individuals have gotten married, discovered their religion, they’ve been inspired, they’ve been geared up and empowered. It’s a neighborhood church.”
The reason for the hearth was not instantly recognized and stays below investigation. Chicago fireplace officers formally declared the hearth struck out shortly after 4:00 p.m., although firefighters have been nonetheless preventing flare-ups and hotspots for a number of hours after.
“A lot of the roof is gone,” Langford mentioned. “It was a extremely popular church within the Black group.”
Dew mentioned he doesn’t imagine anybody was contained in the church on the time of the hearth. Shortly earlier than the blaze started, parishioners had stuffed the pews for vacation companies to mark Good Friday.
“I do know this: If we’ve obtained to lose one thing, shedding it on Good Friday is the perfect time to lose it as a result of after Good Friday comes resurrection Sunday,” Dew mentioned.
And whereas parishioners have been devastated by the lack of the historic construction, they have been additionally optimistic concerning the energy of the congregation.
“It’s past the partitions of the sanctuary, we’re a household past the church partitions. And we love one another,” mentioned Marquita Gill, church member. “It’s very devastating, however I do know we’ll get previous it.”
“All this does for us is provides us a higher motive to redouble our efforts to be intentional about our involvement and dedication to this group,” Pastor Dew mentioned.
At one level a firefighter was seen being taken away in an ambulance. Officers mentioned he slipped on the road and twisted his ankle; he was not injured by the hearth.
The Solar-Occasions Media Wire contributed to this report.
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