CHICAGO (CBS) – An additional alarm fire destroyed the historic Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Englewood on Friday afternoon.
The fire started around 2:30 p.m. The fire department issued a 2-11 alarm, then a 3-11 alarm, for additional supplies and labor at the church at 6248 S. Stewart Ave., at the intersection with Englewood Avenue.
At 2:48 p.m., firefighters reported that the roof had collapsed.
CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reported that the fire could easily flare up in high spaces that aren’t easily accessible to pipes. Between that and the heavy wooden construction of the roof, the fire could easily have gotten out of control.
Firefighters formed hose lines from tower ladder trucks. They went for a defensive operation from the outside, with no firefighters fighting the fire from inside the building.
The fire completely scorched the roof structure, leaving much heavy wood to crash onto the floor of the church. Benches were also likely on fire inside the structure.
Habermehl said firefighters would fight the blaze until late in the evening.
No injuries were reported.
CBS 2’s Jackie Kostek reported that dark clouds of smoke from the fire were visible from the Dan Ryan Freeway on Friday afternoon.
A Good Friday service had been held at the church at noon, about two and a half hours before the fire.
CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported that people stood near the burning church in shock Friday afternoon. Some had only been absent from the Good Friday service at the church for a few hours.
A woman standing and watching has been going to church since she was 10 years old.
The woman said she did not speak to the pastor, but she said he gave a beautiful sermon for Good Friday.
Pastor Gerald Dew has watched over the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church for over 20 years.
“We don’t leave the community,” Dew said. “All of this just makes us redouble our efforts to be intentional about our involvement and commitment to this community.”
Dew said the Good Friday service started at noon and everyone was out around 2 p.m. He learned a little later that the church was on fire.
When he got the call, he saw smoke billowing from 95th Street and the Dan Ryan Freeway. He rushed to the church – only to see the fire getting worse.
But he stressed that what is important is that the congregation is well.
“The church is not a building. The church is the people – and there were no injuries, no loss of life. So the church is still alive. The church is still open . I just know that we will have an Easter service,” the Reverend said. said the dew. “We will celebrate. We will rejoice. We will praise the Lord.
By 4:30 p.m. the fire was under control, but firefighters were still chasing hot spots.
The Antioch Missionary Baptist Church was founded in 1925 by the branch of Reverend EH. The church congregation originally worshiped in Bronzeville and later in Washington Park.
Under the guidance of the Rev. Dr. Wilbur Nathan Daniel, the Antioch Baptist missionary moved into his Englewood home in 1958. The church purchased the structure for $200,000, with an additional $75,000 needed for renovations before d ‘move in.
Jim Williams of CBS 2 noted that Reverend Daniel was very involved in civic affairs and was friends with mayors and other city leaders.