(Headline USA) Fire destroyed a large New Jersey church, collapsing its roof as more than 150 firefighters fought to control the blaze.
Video showed the Fountain of Life Center in Florence Township engulfed in flames Monday night.
Flames have engulfed the entire front part of the Fountain of Life Center on Burlington Columbus Road in Florence Township. The roof collapsed about 20 minutes ago. Fire crews are trucking in water as they battle to get this fire under control. @CBSPhiladelphia https://t.co/Vuz50ujHGi pic.twitter.com/cQoLE9pYXo
— Alicia Roberts (@ARobertsCBS) March 21, 2023
No injuries were reported in the fire, which started at about 6 p.m. Monday. The cause wasn’t immediately known.
“It’s a devastating loss,” Russell Hodgins, a senior pastor, told Philadelphia’s KYW-TV. He said his grandparents helped build it.
“The church is not brick and mortar, the church is really the body of believers,” Hodgins told the station. “God will help us through this, and I believe the church will be stronger than ever.”
The center describes itself on its website as a multipurpose, 120,000-square-foot facility with a preschool, basketball courts, and a fitness center. The school and recreation building survived the fire, according to news reports.
At press time, one congregant, identifying herself as Gia, had taken up a collection via GoFundMe seeking to raise $10,000 for the church’s rebuilding effort.
“This beloved community could use your help to rebuild,” she wrote.
“I know it will take a lot to rebuild what was started in 1969 but we know God is with us,” she continued. “No amount is too small. With your help, we will be able to build back better and stronger, along with the strong faith of this church and community.”
For those wary of the woke crowdfunding site, the church also had posted an online link to its own direct-donation platform under a section labeled “Fire Relief” via its website.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press