ATF: Investigation Of Temple Church Fire Nearly Complete

| January 27, 2010

TEMPLE (January 26, 2010)—Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigators said Tuesday their work at the site of the fire that gutted the sanctuary of Temple’s historic First Baptist Church is almost complete.

They said they’re now analyzing data and writing reports and then will compare notes on their findings.

The anticipate remaining in Temple for several more days before turning the church campus over to Temple Fire & Rescue.

The fire last Tuesday that destroyed the sanctuary of the 70-year-old church and an adjoining building that housed offices, music rooms and classrooms did an estimated $15 million in damage, officials said.

The church’s Child Development Center will remain closed until fire officials and state licensing officials can determine whether the center is safe.

A letter to parents from the center’s director, Carolyn Gunter, says the staff is still waiting to get back into the building.

“When I talk to parents, I am telling them to take care of their needs in regard to child care,” the letter said.

“Some of you are concerned about money that has been paid for child care. As soon as we have access to our files and computers, we will be able to determine how our finances stand,” the letter said.

Church members gathered Sunday at the Mayborn Center in Temple and services are scheduled next Sunday at 8 a.m. the church’s Youth Center and at 11 a.m. at the Youth Center and at Temple’s First United Methodist Church at 102 N. 2nd St.

A Temple police officer spotted the flames and reported the fire at 5:24 a.m. last Tuesday and a second alarm was requested within a few minutes of the arrival of the first Temple Fire and Rescue crews.

A third alarm was requested at 5:40 a.m., calling in all off-duty firefighters.

The roof of the church collapsed around 6:30 a.m. as crews battled the flames from all four sides.

Firewalls, which were installed in 2003, are believed to have helped protect the remainder of the building.

 

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Category: Church Security