Fire rips through Ft. Pierce church

FORT PIERCE, FL (WFLX) - Just three days before New Year's Day, a fire has heavily damaged a Treasure Coast church. The flames broke out around 10 a.m. at the Crossing Community Church on Indrio Road in Fort Pierce.

Still, the congregation is holding on to faith that they'll still hold their Sunday worship services there.

 Fortunately, no one was hurt. Yellow tape now keeps people away from the area where the church's roof is in danger of collapsing. Despite that and $80,000 dollars in damage, members of the Crossing Community Church vow Sunday service will go on.
The church staff was working in the office when someone smelled something burning.
"When I went out I noticed smoke coming out of the roof vent and of course, called 911," said Senior Pastor Craig Bridgers. "And sure enough there was a fire in the attic of our children's wing."
Thankfully, no one was in that part of the building. Pastor Craig Bridgers wants everyone to remember that the building is not the church.
"What matters is the people are OK," he said. "The building is just a building. We'll do church somehow, some way. If not here inside, we'll do it on the property outside. I just want to make sure everybody's OK."
Church members, like David Brooks, came as soon as they heard the news to do what they could to make sure Sunday service goes on as planned.
"This might be a little stumbling block," Brooks said, "but we're here to help the community and we're here for the duration."
As they clean up what they can, they're saying prayers of thanks, knowing if the fire broke out at any other time, they might be looking for a new building. Firefighters said the fire was in the attic, above the smoke detectors. If no one had been in the building at the time, the damage in the children's area could have spread through the rest of the church.
"If it would have been at night, it could have made its way into the unaffected areas," said St. Lucie County Fire Investigator Richard Hamner. "Combustibles, furniture are going to feed that fire faster."
Hamner thinks the fire may be electrical but it could be awhile before anyone knows for certain.
"It's all up in the attic. It's up high and due to the structural damage, it kind of makes it difficult to get in and actually find the cause at this time," he explained. "We're going to have to get in to rip the trusses down and look at the wiring."
The church is working with electricians to cut off the power from the damaged area of the building so they can still hold Sunday service in the back part of the church.