Parkside Community Heartbroken After Historic West Philadelphia Church Bursts Into Flames


WE’RE LIVE IN WEST PHILADELPHIA, I’M KIMBERLY DAVIS, CBS3 EYE-WITNESS NEWS. THANK YOU KIMBERLY. OUR TEAM COVERAGE CONTINUES NOW WITH GREG ARGOS, AND, GREG, THE MEMBERS OF THIS CHURCH COMMUNITY ARE REALLY LEANING ON THEIR FAITH TONIGHT. REPORTER: JESSICA, THAT’S EXACTLY RIGHT. THAT’S REALLY ALL THEY CAN DO RIGHT NOW. WE’RE TALKING SOME EIGHT HOURS AFTER THIS BLAZE STARTED AND YOU CAN SEE FIRE OFFICIALS STILL THROWING WATER ON THIS HISTORIC CHURCH. A BRIEF HIM SUNG BY THE CONGREGANTS WHO GATHERED WATCHING THEIR BELOVED CHURCH DESTROYED. I’M THANKFUL NOBODY GOT HURT. BISHOP BENJAMIN PETERSON THE LEADER AT GREATER BIBLE WAY TEMPLE STUNNED AFTER A THREE ALARM FIRE RAVAGED THE BUILDING, SIMPLY GIVING THANKS NO ONE DIED. WE’RE THANKFUL AND WE DECLARE THINGS JUST GOT BETTER. THE ROOF’S BURNING A LITTLE BIT. Reporter: INDIVIDUAL JOE SHOWS WHAT APPEARS TO BE A WORKER WITH A PROPANE TANK ON THE LOWER LEVEL ROOF. SECONDS LATER WITH THE ROOF NOW ON FIRE, THE BISHOP HIMSELF CAN BE SEEN BRINGING A LADDER TO THAT MAN. THE TWO WERE THEN ABLE TO GET TO THE GROUND. WITHIN MINUTES, THE FIRST FIRE TRUCKS ARRIVED BUT ALREADY SOME WORKING NEARBY ACTING AS FIRST RESPONDERS. JUST SAD. AND TO BE SO CLOSE AND SEE THAT HAPPEN LIKE THAT, UNBELIEVABLE. THIS MAN USUALLY SELLS HOUSEHOLD GOODS NEAR THE CHURCH. HE SAYS THE RECTORY HAD BEEN CONVERTED TO APARTMENTS AND HE HELPED EVACUATE THE PEOPLE INSIDE. I RAP OVER THERE AND TOLD THE PEOPLE TO GET OUT AND RAN INSIDE AND TRIED TO GET THE PEOPLE OUT. SOMEONE CALLED ME AND TOLD ME IT WAS ON FIRE AND I RUSHED HOME. DOROTHY THOMAS IS ONE OF THE TENANTS SHE’S GLAD NO ONE WAS HURT BUT IS CONCERNED FOR HER CAT. PRAYING, YES, BECAUSE MY WINDOWS ARE OPEN, I’M WORRIED ABOUT THE MOAK. Reporter: SMOKE THAT ENGULFED THIS COMMUNITY, NAMING WHAT WAS ONCE A PLACE SO MANY GATHERED TO WORSHIP. TO SEE IT HAPPEN SO CLOSE IS A TRAGEDY. REPORTER: AND YOU’RE TAKING A LIVE LOOK FROM CHOPPER THREE RIGHT NOW HERE AT THE SCENE. SUCH DEVASTATION TO THIS CHURCH. THE BIG QUESTION TONIGHT IS EXACTLY WHAT CAUSED THIS FIRE. WE’VE SEEN ATF AGENTS HERE EARLIER. THEY WILL START INVESTIGATING AS SOON AS IT’S SAFE TO ENTER THE BUILDING. MEANWHILE THE SALVATION ARMY AND THE RED CROSS ARE HERE TONIGHT HELPING OUT THOSE DISPLACED. LIVE HERE IN WEST PHILADELPHIA, GREG ARGOS, CBS3 EYE-WITNESS NEWS. GREG, THANK YOU. AND STAY RIGHT HERE WITH CBS3 EYEWITNESS NEWS FOR CONTINUING COVERAGE AND UPDATES




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