ROSEVILLE — The New Life Church of God in Christ burned down July 27, despite the efforts of local fire departments to save the structure.
Roseville Fire Chief Mike Holland said that they were called to the church, located at 25397 Blair St., at about 6:03 p.m. on a fire run. Upon arrival, they saw that the steeple of the building was on fire.
“We attempted to extinguish it with water, but the fire kept getting bigger on the inside,” Holland said. “We were unable to send anyone in because the fire had already progressed unsafely, and there were a couple walls collapsing.”
Firefighters made sure the area around the collapsing zones was cleared and then concentrated on putting out the fire using backhoes and front-end loaders. The Clinton Township and Eastpointe fire departments assisted in containing the fire, Holland said.
The fire finally was under control at about 8:50 p.m., he added. Weather proved difficult to work with, as Holland said they received about 38 other calls for service that night.
“We had several medical calls that are our standard,” he said. “In addition, we had several fires down on streets and at homes; several wires went down into trees; we had a person lose control of their vehicle and went off on I-94 into Marsacks’ pond.”
Holland said there were no injuries at the fire, and firefighters were able to keep it from spreading to any other structures. They also were able to save the church bell and give it to the church membership, he said.
The Rev. Darrell Moore, who founded the church, said he believes lightning struck the steeple, sparking the fire.
“The neighbors said there was a ‘boom’ sound,” Moore said. “The steeple fell down into the roof and collapsed the roof.”
Holland said the cause of the fire is under investigation, but as it coincided with a thunderstorm, there is a possibility it started with a lightning strike.
Moore said the Erin Presbyterian Church has offered the congregation the use of its sanctuary for the next few weeks, and that they would “go from there.”
“I would ask that the people that would, to pray for our congregation,” he said.
Moore added that they are accepting donations toward their “rebuilding fund” through TCF Bank, and that the account is under New Life Church on Blair Street in Roseville.
The church building was constructed in the 1920s, and the Fire Department currently is doing a hazardous materials survey on it, Holland said.
As of Aug. 3, the New Life Church of God in Christ would have been meeting at the church building for three years, according to Moore.