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Fire Totals Duncan Church

DUNCAN Okla_ A church caught fire Monday morning in Duncan, and the state fire marshal is on the scene searching for a cause.

It broke out just before 10:30 AM Monday at Foursquare Gospel Church on the corner of 5th and Pine. The church just went up for sale a little over two weeks ago.  Investigators say the building is a complete loss.

7News Reporter Sara Whaley spent most of her morning on the scene of the fire. Investigators said they don't know the cause of the fire yet, but witnesses say they heard an explosion right after they saw the smoke. Investigators weren't able to get close to the rubble until almost 3:00 PM. Firefighters were on the scene most of the day, putting out hot spots.

After burning for nearly two hours, the walls tumbled down on years of tradition.

"It's hard to watch," Pastor Toby Clark said. "We got a lot of memories. A lot of our congregation and our kids grew up here."

Pastor Clark said they just moved out of this building into a smaller, more affordable one.

"Our last service was a couple of weeks ago," Clark said.

Because of that, the church was empty, and almost everything inside had been moved. That was the only break firefighters got today. High winds and heavy smoke had firefighters worried that houses near the church might catch fire as well.

Esther Bracken lives in the house across the street.

"The blacker the smoke, the more worried I was beginning to get," Bracken said.

Crews sprayed down the roof of her house after asking her to evacuate.

"I got all those papers out and my 3 puppies and my grandchildren and we are all okay," Bracken said.

From what witnesses have told him, Detective John Byers believes the fire started on the south side of the church.

"They heard some loud noises," Byers said. "Then, an explosion blew out the south wall of the Church itself."

He said the investigation is open right now, but the team is following all leads to determine a cause.

"We're looking at the gas and electricity," Byers said, "Everything that was to the building, getting all those reports from those individuals. We'll be interviewing several people today to try and find out how our fire started."

It took firefighters and equipment from several neighboring communities to help put the fire out. There were over 30 firemen helping in all. The Duncan Fire Department said they will keep a crew at the scene overnight to make sure the fire doesn't re-kindle.

 

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