Massive 8-alarm fire destroys church New Jersey, US
A massive eight-alarm fire destroyed a church in South Jersey on Monday evening, 20 March 2023. The flames broke out around 18h00 at the Fountain of Life Centre located on the 2000 block of Columbus Road in Florence Township in New Jersey, US. Officials said that kids were playing basketball in the rear of the church when they reported seeing smoke. It didn't take long before the building was completely engulfed in flames. According to Robert Tharp, the fire district administrator for the Florence Township Fire Department, more than 150 fire fighters from across South Jersey and Pennsylvania helped fight the flames and supply water.
“The area was very difficult for operations; very large building that had a very large footprint,” said Tharp. “We also had very limited water supply where we had to go to fill stations to bring water in to fight the fire.”
The fire appeared to be under control as of 23h00 on Monday but crews continued to extinguish hotspots on Tuesday morning.
"It's incredibly tragic. This is my entire life and the community here really means everything to me," said Pastor Matthew Boudwin.
Officials with the church are planning to hold Sunday services in a recreation area of the property that was spared by the flames. A K-12 school next door was also not damaged. "Even though this building could not be saved, they've done everything they can to save our school building, which is attached through a link to the church," added Russ Hodgins, the lead pastor.
No injuries were reported.
Officials believe the fire may have started in the sanctuary of the church. The exact cause is still under investigation.
FRI Media (Pty) Ltd is an independent publisher of technical magazines including the well-read and respected Fire and Rescue International, its weekly FRI Newsletter and the Disaster Management Journal. We also offer a complete marketing and publishing package, which include design, printing and corporate wear and gifts.