Church destroyed in fire

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A church in Chico was destroyed by a fire Saturday afternoon.

Living Waters Fellowship Church, located in the 200 block of Davis Street, caught fire around 3:45 p.m. and flames spread throughout the building’s attic as a tall tower of smoke from was visible for more than 15 miles.

Bridgeport Fire Chief Terry Long was one of the first firefighters on scene and said he observed the building’s roof venting flames in three places. Crews from multiple fire departments mounted an external attack and notified an electrical company to shut down nearby power lines.

“It was vented through most of that,” Long said. “It all burned very fast.”

After knocking down flames, firefighters used a backhoe to pull down several of the church’s exterior walls to help mop up the building’s smoldering ruins.

“It made it easier to get what’s left and it got rid of a safety hazard we would have encountered later,” Long said.

Wise County Deputy Fire Marshal Joe Washburn said his investigation is still ongoing but noted that scorch marks on the upper sections of the building’s walls indicate the fire started in its shared attic.

“One of the first 911 callers told me he got here and had brown smoke coming out of the eave,” Washburn said. “Brown smoke is from a fire that’s lacking oxygen. Once it broke through the window in the front, he said it turned to black smoke and flames. It had traveled the whole attic.”

Firefighters from Crafton, Chico, Lake Bridgeport, Decatur, Paradise, Alvord, Sand Flat and Bridgeport fire departments responded to the blaze with precautionary aid and heat rehabilitation from Wise County EMS personnel on scene.

The church will hold regular services at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, July 16 at Chico City Hall, 400 S Hovey St.


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