Local church catches fire
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A South Florida congregation is without a place to worship this Christmas after a fire damages their church.
Crews said the flames started in the Pentecostal Church on the 1700 block of West Flagler Street Monday night. The flames spread to a nearby business. "That's our business, said Dania Ovando. "My family business and I'm scared that it could be like, damage for nothing. And there's animals next to us, that also worries me. Also, there's some people that stay in the church at night, so, it was a little bit nerve-wrecking."
Members of the church gathered at the scene to pray. "I was actually raised in this church," said Christian Cruz. "The church started from my grandma's house to this."
The place of worship has been in place for more than 10 years but it took one woman a lifetime of work to build. "My grandma put all her life, you know, all her soul," said Cruz. "She worked for it, she paid for it. She paid for every little thing that's inside that church. She pays rent every month. And now to know that this happened in a blink of an eye, it's just crazy."
However, Pastor Marlene Cruz said it will not stop her from worshiping. She said it doesn't matter if they don't have microphones and speakers, they have a voice, spirit and faith.
Firefighters responded the night of Christmas Eve. They said they tried to get to the source of the fire to put it out as fast as they could. "We had heavy smoke from the roof," said Miami Fire Rescue Captain, Russell Habraira. "There's a vent at the top of the building. The main entry was locked up, it was a strip mall."
Cruz said building the church took a lot of work that she and her Christian brothers and sisters put forth.
The cause of the fire is still unknown. Most of the damage can't be seen from the outside. "There were flames throughout the middle of the building," said Habraira, "above us, on the ceiling. That's what we were fighting."
Pastor Cruz said the carpet is soaked, the inside is burned and even the children's tables and chairs have been left completely damaged.
The good news is no one was hurt in the fire. Any church members who would like to join the 7:30 p.m. mass Tuesday night are welcome to. They also said you might want to bring a chair with you.
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