In a tragic incident on Monday, a massive fire destroyed a historic church in Burlington, New Jersey. The church, Fountain of Life Center in Florence Township located in southern New Jersey, was engulfed in flames, which took about 100 firefighters several hours to contain.
According to eyewitnesses, the fire started at about 6:00 pm Eastern time and quickly spread throughout the building. The flames could be seen from a distance, and the smoke billowed high into the sky, prompting emergency services to rush to the scene. Firefighters from several neighboring towns were called in to assist in the efforts to put out the fire. Despite their best efforts, the blaze continued to rage, and it was several hours before they were able to bring it under control.
According to reports by Premier, a senior pastor in the Church, Russell Hodgins had said to local ABC station, “It’s a devastating loss,” Russell Hodgins, a senior pastor at the Fountain of Life Center”.
Robert Tharp, the administrator of the Florence Township Fire District said to CBS-6: “Firefighters did a tremendous job of trying to stop the fire interiorly. It was just the size of the building the amount of fire that was here – we had to switch our operation to a defensive operation,”.
In a report by fox29.com, a certain Colleen Reichert who lives close by says she can recall the church being established since around 1979. She further added that in the past few years, the church had expanded their properties and congregation. “They do a wonderful Easter show every year, every single year. People come from all over. It’s a wonderful congregation, it’s part of the community, and it’s going to be missed,” said Reichert.
Residents revealed that the Church has a large basketball court used by the community, and all kids present during the time of the incident were evacuated safely and no injuries were reported.
The Burlington County Commissioners later released a statement, appreciating all the firefighters, police, and EMS personnel that responded to the fire.
“Our thoughts are with the church’s congregation and school community who have been impacted. The devastating loss will be felt by our entire county. While we were shaken to learn of the extent of the damages, we were relieved to learn that there was no loss of life or apparent injuries from the blaze,” the Burlington County Commissioners said in a statement. “The teamwork and professionalism exhibited by our county’s public safety leaders, telecommunicators and responders last night and today should make all of Burlington County proud.”