Fire damages church in southwest Fort Worth

Posted Monday, Dec. 24, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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FORT WORTH - Fire heavily damaged the Chinese Baptist Church of Fort Worth early Monday, the day after members gathered for their Christmas worship services.

No Christmas Eve services were planned for Monday night and the pastor is out of town, a member said.

"We had a celebration on [Sunday]. It's sad. It's really sad, but we will keep on moving. We will keep on going," said Gu Jin, a special education teacher who has been a church member for about 20 years.

Firefighters responded to calls shortly after 7 a.m. of heavy fire and smoke at the church at 4625 Granbury Road, fire department spokesman Capt. Tom Crow said.

When crews arrived, smoke was billowing out of windows, Crow said.

Firefighters had the blaze under control about 15 minutes after arriving and issuing a second alarm. No injuries were reported in the fire or the firefighting effort.

"The damage is extensive to the interior of the church," Crow said. "It is completely unusable."

Fire investigators were called, but there was no immediate determination of a cause. Crow said the fire may have started in the front of the sanctuary near an organ.

Firefighters carried the charred organ outside the building, along with bucketfuls of burned hymnals, service programs and other debris.

About 160 members gathered on Sunday morning for services with candles and Christmas carols, along with Sunday school classes, Jin said. Red bows adorned the pews inside the sanctuary.

As fire crews left on Monday, a handful of members began arriving at the damaged church and shared a brief prayer.

The church is the only one of its kind in Fort Worth and services are held in English, Mandarin and Cantonese, Jin said.

The congregation began meeting in the building in 1992, after buying the church from a Lutheran congregation, according to its website.

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