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Staff members at Decatur church clean up after fire

Firefighters said the size of the building and the cold weather worked against them.

DECATUR, Ga. — An overnight fire destroyed a church in Decatur just days before it was set to become a warming center for people experiencing homelessness in the area.

By the looks of the outside of the building, it's hard to see the immense damage the fire caused behind the outside walls of Power of Faith Family Worship Center.

“It looked like, 'oh my God.'"

That was the first thing that came to mind when Bishop James Jackson saw his church on fire. The fire starting around 1:30 Friday morning.

“Crews were able to make entry and extinguish the fire with no injuries,” said Captain Jaeson Daniels with Dekalb County Fire.

“The fire got up into the ceiling and traveled from the kitchen all the way through the sanctuary balcony area,” described Jackson.

Firefighters said the size of the building and the cold weather worked against them.

“This is particularly difficult for us just because of the size of the structure and the amount of things that are on the inside. Especially with the temperature we’re trying to keep water flowing through the line so they don’t freeze,” said Daniels.

The Bishop of nine years sent 11Alive video that showed parishioners praising at happier times inside the sanctuary that welcomed everyone. 

Whatever wasn't burned was damaged by water.

Not only does this put a damper on regular church schedule, it also prevents it from becoming a place of refuge for people experiencing homelessness.

“We had a series of break-ins from the less served population just trying to get in somewhere,” said Bishop.

He said it was the catalyst to add the church to the list of warming centers in Dekalb County, but like Easter service, summer camp and its food service program, its on hold until further notice.

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