UNITED STATES NEWS

Huge fire destroys New Jersey church, draws 150 firefighters

Mar 21, 2023, 4:15 AM

FLORENCE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Fire destroyed a large New Jersey church, collapsing its roof as more than 150 firefighters fought to control the blaze.

Video showed the Fountain of Life Center in Florence Township engulfed in flames Monday night.

No injuries were reported in the fire, which started at about 6 p.m. Monday. The cause wasn’t immediately known.

“It’s a devastating loss,” Russell Hodgins, a senior pastor, told Philadelphia’s KYW-TV. He said his grandparents helped build it.

“The church is not brick and mortar, the church is really the body of believers,” Hodgins told the station. “God will help us through this, and I believe the church will be stronger than ever.”

The center describes itself on its website as a multipurpose, 120,000-square-foot facility with a preschool, basketball courts, and a fitness center. The school and recreation building survived the fire, according to news reports.

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Huge fire destroys New Jersey church, draws 150 firefighters