CHICAGO (CBS) – Fire thatin Englewood happened by accident, the Chicago Fire Department said. The fire broke out on Good Friday and flared up again on Saturday morning.
The CFD said the fire started because of work being done on the roof using propane burners.
Firefighters returned several times, including Saturday morning when the blaze broke out again.
“My God, what a destruction,” said Leslie Campbell, who works at the church. “What are we going to do?”
Campbell was a guardian of the Antiochian Missionary Baptist Church for nearly 30 years, and he never expected the destruction of his church.
“I was very surprised because it is a strong church,” he said.
The destruction of the church has caused many to see the consequences, including those who grew up in it, like Julius Tucker.
“I was baptized here and baptized here, and I got my first salary here,” Tucker said.
The CFD said that once the roof collapsed, it was impossible to get inside safely.
“It’s unstable for us right now,” said District Deputy Chief Curtis Hudson. “That’s why we keep coming back to rekindle, because we can’t get to the grain of fire from where our point of view is.”
The church will hold Easter services at the Kalahan Ritual House.
“The church will come together and I will be there,” Campbell said.
Edward Callahan, president of the Callahan Funeral Home, spoke to lead pastor Gerald Dew about holding an Easter service at their heritage center.
Convinced by my son-in-law, the Rev. Jasper Taylor, he has just said that we should contact Pastor Dew and ask him if he needs help from the Callahan Funeral Home, and if they need a room, we will accommodate, ”Callahan said.
Those who live next door say that when you think of Englewood, you think of Antioch.
“It’s very stuffy, but again, it’s a building, and so the memories don’t go anywhere. They stay put,” Tucker said.
The Chicago Fire Department said it was up to the construction department to demolish the church or save it.