The pastor of a Dunnellon church that was ravaged by a fire last week said it appears that a problem with old wiring in the attic started the blaze.
Units from Marion Couty Fire Rescue were called to the Souls Harbor Pentecostal Church shortly after midnight on Thursday, Dec. 6 after a 911 caller reported flames shooting through the roof of the building.
When firefighters from Station 3 arrived on scene, they found heavy smoke and flames coming from the 5,000-square-foot structure, which Pastor Daniel Autrey identified as the church’s dining room/student center on Chestnut Street.
Firefighters quickly forced entry into the building and began an offensive attack on the fire. Other units from Rainbow Springs Station 22 arrived minutes later and performed roof ventilation operations, alleviating smoke conditions from the interior of the church.
But the fire had compromised the structural integrity of the roof, so firefighters were forced to come off of the structure, a Marion County Fire Rescue report states.
A district captain also arrived on scene and assumed command of the fire. And crews from Ray Lloyd Station 31 and Friendship Station 21 assisted in extinguishing the blaze.
The fire was called under control at 12:58 a.m. There were no injuries reported and the blaze remains under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
“The most important thing is that no one was injured,” Pastor Daniel Autrey wrote on the church’s Facebook page. “Our sanctuary remains intact and unharmed. There will be much effort, and construction required; but we will make it through this.”