CHICAGO (AP) — A fire roared through a prominent church on Chicago's South Side hours after it held Good Friday services, sending its roof caving in and likely leaving it a total loss.
The multiple-alarm fire blaze at the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church began after 2 p.m., an hour after services ended, and wasn't brought under control for 90 minutes.
“This church is an anchor in this community,” the pastor, Rev. Gerald Dew, told reporters at the scene. “If we’ve got to lose something, losing it on Good Friday is the best time to lose it because, after Good Friday comes Resurrection Sunday."
The fire appeared to begin in the upper rear of the church, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said. No one appeared to be inside at the time.
Around 150 firefighters and 50 engines, trucks and ambulances went to the scene, Langford said. The only reported injury was a firefighter who slipped on the street and injured his ankle, he said. He was taken away in an ambulance.
The South Side church is well-known for its political clout and community involvement, investing in several housing projects starting in the 1960s. The church provides more than 1,500 units of affordable housing for seniors, the physically handicapped and for families, Dew said.
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