Category Archives: Place of Worship

Shreveport, LA – Sprinkler system extinguishes arson fire at church

A Shreveport church is speaking out after it was discovered Friday morning that an individual broke in and attempted to set the building on fire.

“I pray for the individual, if he is able to see this, that you would come to know the Love of Jesus,” Pastor James McMenis at Word of God Ministries said.

About 4:30 a.m., a security camera at Word of God Ministries showed footage of a masked male hitting a door of the church with a bat and gaining entrance into the building. Cameras followed the suspect, who proceeded to douse the children’s area with gasoline.

The masked man then lit a fire. The sprinkler system extinguished the fire within a minute.

Shreveport firefighters and police were on the scene within minutes of the incident.

A Word of God Ministries spokesperson said that services will go ahead as scheduled Sunday.

This incident is under investigation.

Roseville, MN – Sprinkler system activated for arson fire at Salvation Army Service Center

Officials say a Brooklyn Park Salvation Army Service Center was set on fire and vandalized Thursday night. 

A man police said is known to them was taken into custody in connection with the break-in and fire. The building’s chapel suffered damage from the arson, but the fire was “contained with the help of the building’s sprinkler system,” according to a press release. 

The suspect also reportedly destroyed the building’s windows and office areas. Officials say he was seen on security footage “piling a chair and new coats onto a pew in the chapel and lighting it on fire.”

“This has been devastating to our staff here,” said Captain Josh Polanco, who leads the Brooklyn Park service center. “Our food shelf here is fairly new, and membership at our church has been growing. But we will make the necessary repairs, because the families in the community rely on us for assistance.”

The service center was preparing to distribute winter coats, which would have taken place on Friday. The Salvation Army is asking for coat donations of all sizes, for adults and kids, to replace those that were damaged in the fire.

“We know at least 200 coats, which were damaged already– those we have to replace,” Lt. Colonel Dan Jennings said. “And we think more people will need coats as well, and today is a great reminder it does get cold in the Twin Cities.”

 The coats can be dropped off starting Monday, Nov. 7 at 10011 Noble Parkway. Or you can specific donate to the coat program here.

Rochester, MN – Sprinkler system activated for fire at church; No injuries reported

An early Monday fire in the basement of a Rochester church caused considerable damage, but an alarm system and sprinklers kept things from becoming worse.

Alerted to a blaze at Peace United Church of Christ just after 2 a.m., firefighters arrived to find thick black smoke filling the building at 1503 2nd Av. NE., Fire Department spokesman K.C. Clark said.

The fire broke out in the church’s lower level between the sanctuary and an attached preschool. A portable water extinguisher was used to put out the main fire. An overhead sprinkler that had activated before firefighters arrived helped keep the fire from spreading, Clark said.

Damage was mainly confined to the area of the blaze, but there was a significant smoke on the main and lower levels, Clark said.

“Nearly all parts of the church will need remediation due to the smoke,” Clark said. “Things might have been much worse had the church not had an automatic smoke and fire alarm. Had the building not been protected by an alarm system, it is likely the building would have sustained significant fire damage.”

No one was in the building at the time, and no firefighters were hurt, Clark said.

A damage estimate was not immediately available. Officials have not determined a cause.

Brossard, QC, Canada – Sprinkler system extinguishes fire at mosque; No injuries reported

An early morning fire at the Islamic Community Centre on Grande Allee Blvd. in Brossard, Que., was most likely started by an electrical issue, according to Longueuil Police.

Firefighters arrived at the mosque around 1a.m Saturday morning. The fire was already being extinguished by the building’s emergency sprinkler system. Firefighters were able to control the blaze in about 30 minutes.

According to security footage, there was nobody inside at the time. No injuries were reported.

Investigators say there is about $50,000 in damages.

Branson, MO – Church fire extinguished by sprinkler system

Branson firefighters helped clean up a church that caught on fire Saturday evening, which allowed the church to hold its Sunday morning service without any setbacks.

Fire crews responded after an automatic fire alarm went off Saturday at Faith and Wisdom Church.

When firefighters arrived, they determined the fire had started in a small utility room. The fire had been extinguished by the fire sprinkler system, but firefighters had to shut off the sprinklers.

Crews helped out with extensive cleanup, using vent fans to clear out the smoke. They also used squeegees to remove water from the building to prevent it from spreading into the sanctuary.

It’s unclear how much damage the fire caused at this time or how it started. Though the church was able to reopen Sunday and hold morning services.

Syracuse, UT – Arson fire at church extinguished by sprinkler system

A 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a Syracuse chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was burned, vandalized, and defaced with anti-Christian symbols.

The Syracuse Police Department issued a statement Saturday afternoon on the case, which was first reported by Gephardt Daily.

On Oct. 9, 2021 at approximately 1 a.m., the Syracuse Fire Department responded to an LDS Church at 1112 S. 1525 West in Syracuse on a fire alarm. When fire crews entered the building, they found it filled with smoke and discovered a sprinkler system had extinguished the fire.

Fire crews observed extensive water and property damage throughout the building caused by the fire. Additionally, the fire department observed several intentional acts of vandalism throughout the building. The fire is being investigated as arson.

Syracuse Police Department, Syracuse Fire Department, Davis County Sheriff’s Office Crime Lab and the ATF are working together to investigate the arson and vandalism.

On Oct. 9, 2021 at 2 p.m., an arson arrest was made regarding this case; a 16-year-old male responsible for the damage was booked into a juvenile detention facility. He will not be identified because he is a juvenile.


Emergency crews responded to the scene, a few blocks southeast of Syracuse High School, at about 1:10 a.m. Sprinklers had doused the blaze.

Arson damage to the interior included the burning of padded benches used by the congregation.

Inverted crosses, and what appeared to a pentagram, were spray-painted on the front of the church. Images including the number 666 were sprayed on other doors.

Officers questioned neighbors about anything they might have seen or captured on surveillance video. Syracuse Police Department officers were back at the scene in the morning, questioning any neighbors they might have missed earlier.

Several vehicles from a local cleaning company were on the scene Saturday morning, after the scene had been cleared by investigators.

Gephardt Daily will have additional information if it is released by police.

Fitchburg, MA – Fire sprinklers stop fire from spreading after pipe organ catches fire in church; No injuries reported

A sprinkler system and the hard work of firefighters and a very large fan spared much of a Fitchburg church Monday afternoon when an electrical issue in a pipe organ sparked a fire, according to firefighters.

Deputy Chief Chad Courtemanche said crews were called to the Emanuel Lutheran Church a little after 3 p.m., on an alarm call after the alarm system detected sprinkler flow.

Crews arrived to find heavy smoke in the building and soon learned the fire in the pipe organ was being held in check by sprinklers, Courtemanche said.

As a result of the sprinklers, “the fire was burning slow and creating a lot of smoke, so we vented the smoke and put out the fire,” Courtemanche said.

There were no reported injuries.

Crews used a large, truck-mounted ventilation fan designed for large buildings to vent a large amount of smoke from the church. Courtemanche said damage appeared to be light, under the circumstances, with fire damage confined mostly to the organ, and mostly just smoke and water damage elsewhere.

He said much of the wooden church, and even some books not far from the blaze, appeared to have suffered minimal damage.

Pastor Daniel W. Spigelmyer Jr., said the pipe organ is about 150 years old, and is a major sentimental and historical loss for the church.

Crews remained at the scene for about two hours.

Ocean City, NJ – Fire sprinklers keep fire in check at Ocean City Tabernacle overnight

Social distancing played a role in the fast response and prevention of a potentially serious fire at the Ocean City Tabernacle early Thursday morning.

In the pre-dawn hours, the ballast of a fluorescent lamp apparently overheated and ignited a small fire, according to Tabernacle Pastor Jay Reimer.

The incident occurred in a storage area near the gymnasium at approximately 4:40 a.m., Ocean City Fire Department Chief Jim Smith said.

The mechanism of the light fell to the ground, causing a nearby box of basketballs and other sports equipment to begin smoldering and ignite a small fire.

This in turn set off the smoke detector, as well as the fire alarm at the Tabernacle, located at 550 Wesley Avenue.

“We were very fortunate,” Reimer said. “As you may know, we had some firefighters staying with us, and they took care of it before (the situation escalated).”

In the “old normal” pre-coronavirus pandemic days, a crew of eight firefighters would have been living in close quarters at the Fire Department Headquarters building across Asbury Avenue from the Tabernacle grounds.

Because of social distancing concerns during the pandemic, however, the bunk room beds have been spread out, and three members of the eight-man crew were staying overnight at the Tabernacle, as they have since March 27.

“We’re very thankful to the Tabernacle to open its doors to us,” said Smith. “It’s probably a blessing in disguise they were there. As usual, our guys did a great job.”

Smith said the OCFD members “found smoke and fire” when they arrived at the storage area and that the Tabernacle’s sprinkler system had “held the fire in check” up to that point. The firefighters connected a hose and quickly extinguished the small fire, Smith said.

“They had to stretch the hose out and put the fire out,” he said. “There was minimum damage from the water.”

Had the firefighters not been on site, the outcome could have been entirely different, he added.

“It was fortunate our guys were there to address the fire before (they left for the night) and came back from across the street,” Smith said.

Sacramento, CA – Fire sprinklers keep arson church fire from spreading

Two Sacramento-area churches were damaged late Tuesday and early Wednesday morning in fires believed to be started by an arsonist.

The first fire was reported at 11:56 p.m. at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church at 14th Avenue.

Several windows were kicked in at the church and fire was set to an administrative office and library.

“It’s wasteful, that’s what it is. Somebody that don’t got nothing to do and the devil is busy nowadays. We was fortunate it’s just this amount of damage,” said church trustee and head of maintenance Richard Heidelberg.

A fire sprinkler system kept the blaze from spreading but caused major water damage in several offices.

“We have a lot of water damage and just two places with smoke damage, but all of our offices in our administration wing, all those are flooded out and the carpet and everything and down the hallway into finance and then it started into the church but it stopped,” said Heidelberg.

One firefighter suffered moderate burns during the initial fire attack and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

As firefighters were battling the blaze, an arson investigator en route to the call spotted a suspicious person and ultimately made an arrest.

They believe that suspect is responsible for both church fires.

While it will take major restoration and construction to get the Central International Church open, Heidelberg is confident his Baptist church will be back in service on Sunday.

“A lot of work to do, a lot of work to do. We’ll be back running for Sunday, that’s a guarantee,” he said.

Easton, MA – Fire sprinklers keep fire at bay after candles set advent wreath on fire; No injuries reported

A candle-lit wreath caught fire Monday morning, triggering an evacuation at the Museum of Family Prayer at the Father Peyton Center.

An evergreen Advent wreath, which was inside the museum’s chapel, ignited shortly after multiple candles were lit on candle holders within the center of the wreath, Fire Chief Kevin Partridge said in a press release. The wreath was located near the altar and three people were inside the chapel at the time of the fire.

The Easton Fire Department received an alarm around 11:15 a.m. and a 911 call reporting a fire inside the chapel at the museum at 518 Washington St.

Upon arrival of firefighters, the building had been evacuated and the fire was extinguished by the sprinkler system and a maintenance worker who used a fire extinguisher, according to Partridge.

No injuries were reported.

Once the fire started, the sprinkler system in the chapel activated and a maintenance worker heard people yelling about a fire and grabbed a nearby fire extinguisher to help put out the flames, Partridge said.

Firefighters arrived minutes later and shut down the sprinkler system and helped to carry wet furniture and other items out of the chapel.

The fire was contained to the wreath, but the chapel had a significant amount of water inside from the sprinkler, Partridge said. Firefighters used wet-vacs to remove as much of the water from the floor as they could before clearing the scene at approximately 12:20 p.m.

The chapel will be closed temporarily until the water can be completely dried.

“Thankfully the sprinkler system activated and kept the fire at bay and the maintenance worker sprung into action prior to our arrival,” Partridge said, “We are glad that no one was hurt and this incident should serve as a reminder that evergreen is extremely flammable and should never be kept near an open flame. Many churches use Advent wreaths this time of year, but we recommend that they use fake wreaths and keep a close eye on any candles with open flames.”

Partridge also reminded residents to regularly water their Christmas trees and to keep them away from any heat sources or open flames.

In addition, Chief Partridge would like to share some candle safety tips from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:

Burn candles within a 1 foot circle free of anything that can burn.

Before you leave a room or the house, blow out candles. Never leave candles burning unattended.

Always extinguish candles after use.

Use a non-combustible saucer or candle holder.

Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.

To be safe, consider using flameless candles. Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage instead of candles.