Firefighter Falls, Injures Back Fighting Church Fire

A Sachse firefighter suffered minor injuries Tuesday morning while battling a 2-alarm fire at a church in the Collin County town of St. Paul.

Wylie Fire Chief Brent Parker said a person who lived near the church was walking his dog along the 1700 block of Parker Road when he spotted flames coming through the roof of the building and called 911.

Firefighters arrived and reported a large column of flames behind the steeple, shooting through the roof. Firefighters began attacking the fire on both sides of the building as the fire was spreading through the T-shaped building's attic, Parker said.

Parker said one of the firefighters from Sachse suffered minor injuries to his back when he fell off a ladder as a rafter collapsed beneath him.  He was transported to Medical Center Plano to be evaluated. The firefighter, Parker said, was trying to spray water into the attic to help stop the spread of the fire.

The fire was eventually put out, but investigators have not yet determined how or where the fire started.

Parker said firefighters conducted a search and found no one inside. No injuries, other than to the firefighter, have been reported.

NBC 5 has learned the church houses two different congregations, one English-speaking and one Spanish-speaking.

A senior pastor with Iglesia Cristo es Rey, or Christ is King Church, tells NBC5 his congregation has about 40 to 45 members. He says no church members were in the building when the fire started. He is not sure where the congregation will gather for upcoming services.

The English-speaking congregation makes up Amazing Grace Fellowship and runs a food pantry on site. Cynthia Rumore, pantry director, says smoke from the fire ruined some of the produce and food inside their building. Some of the food will have to be thrown away. However, she said they serve 400-500 clients a month and do not want to turn away someone in need because of the setback.

“My God is bigger than all of this - and I know he has a plan," she said.

Officials with the church told NBC 5 they do have insurance.

Firefighters from Wylie, Murphy, Sachse, Lucas and Plano assisted in putting out the fire.

NBC 5's Josh Ault and Catherine Ross contributed to this report.

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