Extra-Alarm Blaze Ravages Englewood Church

Updated 10/26/12 – 1:35 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A large section of an Englewood church collapsed during an extra-alarm blaze early Friday.

WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports firefighters first responded to the blaze around 4 a.m. at the Love Faith and Praise Church of God in Christ, in the 400 block of West 70th Street.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya Reports

The fire was quickly elevated to a 3-11 alarm, as firefighters spotted flames coming through the roof after they arrived.

Later, much of the church collapsed.

Margaret Holloway, who lives across the street from the church, said “I was woke because of smoke; smoke just coming in the window.”

Church members watched on in disbelief as firefighters poured water on the blaze.

“I was just over there this past Sunday. We had an anniversary for our pastor,” one church member said. “I would never have thought our church would be on fire.”

Patricia Bolden, the pastor’s daughter, said, “I’m just amazed. It’s not like what I remember, because we had a gym in the back, and that’s completely gone. And we had plans for the children to come in and use the gym, and kind of get them off the street.”

The pastor’s family said a concert had also been planned for Sunday.

The 3-11 alarm was struck out at about 5:30 a.m., but firefighters stayed at the scene for several hours to douse any hot spots, and knocking down walls that had partially collapsed in the fire.

No injuries were reported, and the cause of the fire had not yet been determined as of Friday morning.

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