FAIRFIELD — An attic fire whipped by strong north winds on Friday morning raced through a Calvary Baptist Church building used twice a week for children’s ministry.
Fairfield firefighters poured water on the single-story, wooden building for well over an hour. Flames and smoke belched from the pitched roof, which appeared to sag until it collapsed in the middle.
The Rev. Rick Stonestreet watched as the building at 600 Gregory St. burned. The immediate result is the church will have to relocate its children’s ministry classes on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings, he said. The main church building and classrooms for the church school were undamaged.
“Anytime you lose a building, for a church, it’s difficult,” Stonestreet said.
The fire began at about 9 a.m. North winds that averaged about 25 mph with gusts topping 40 mph spread smoke through the neighborhood to the south. Police shut down Gregory Street at West Texas Street.
Fairfield responded with five engines and a ladder truck, with the long ladder being extended at one point so firefighters could pour water down on the burning roof from above.
Fire Battalion Chief Steve Trepagnier said the north winds affected the fire “severely.” They accelerated the spread of the fire throughout the entire attic, causing the roof to collapse, he said.
Later in the day, Trepagnier said the cause was arcing electrical wires. No other structures were threatened, he said.
Calvary Baptist Church has a school and children left the premises in a school bus that parked a short distance away at the city corporation yard. Trepagnier said the children were not endangered by the fire.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.