The sanctuary of an Irving church known for helping the homeless was destroyed in a large fire before sunrise Thursday morning.[[466954433,R]]
Video from Texas Sky Ranger showed flames soaring above the Bear Creek Community Church on Finley Road shortly before 7 a.m. Crews escalated the fire to three alarms by about 7:15 a.m., about an hour after first arriving at the scene.
No one was inside the sanctuary area when the fire started, though about 11 people were staying in a connected building where the church sheltered the homeless, said Rick Sanderson, Irving fire battalion chief.
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It's not clear what sparked the fire. No one was injured.
Dennis Webb, the senior pastor at the church and a former firefighter with Grand Praire, said the sanctuary was a total loss.
"While I was on the prayer line I heard from a firefighter friend of mine, who told me, 'your church is on fire,'" recalled Webb. "I kinda teared up a little watching it; I watched a lot of other people stand outside on the street watch their homes, building go up in flames."
Webb said he felt sorry for other church members who aren't used to seeing the devastation left by fires. He explained the church community will eventually rebuild the sanctuary.
"When you got the mechanical mindset like firemen, we go to work. But when it's you, you feel it, and I felt it this morning," said Webb.