Selma church fire under investigation

The blaze started right after several churchgoers ended a bible study at the Free Spirit Missionary Baptist Church. It is located in the 200 block of North Pollock Street in Selma.

May 16, 2010 4:32:42 PM PDT
An investigation is underway to determine what sparked a fire at a historic church in Selma on Sunday.The blaze started right after several churchgoers ended a bible study at the Free Spirit Missionary Baptist Church. It is located in the 200 block of North Pollock Street in Selma.

The historic church has been in the community since 1911.

Fire crews were called to the scene after the blaze broke out around 11:30am Sunday.

No one was injured in the church fire, but it was quite an experience for not only its members but the community.

"We started to see smoke come out the vents of the top of the third floor and then once we heard a big bang like something had bust, then we got the children that were in the break area and got everybody and rushed everybody out, " Church Member Michael Jeffries said.

"We could see flames through one of the windows on the backside, Pastor George Walston said.

Once the first flames broke out, Jefferies said everything happened very quickly.

"I said pastor, we're going to lose our church and so I ran and cut the air conditioning unit off," Jefferies said. "That's when I heard a second pop."

Selma Fire Chief Phillip McDaniel arrived on the scene first Sunday.

"Pretty descent working fire on the third floor," McDaniel said.

The fire started in the third floor; it may have been caused by an electrical short.

The church stores donation items for those in need on the third floor, all of those items were destroyed in the blaze.

"Heavy damage to a couple of rooms and just some smoke damage to the rest of the church," McDaniel said.

The sanctuary only suffered smoke damage, which can be fixed. The good news for churchgoers say is that the entire building is still structurally sound.

"Gives me more determination, more driver power to proceed, "Walston said.

"We were very happy that we didn't lose the sanctuary part so we just say God is good," Jefferies said.

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