Firefighter falls through roof while battling church fire
The firefighter was not seriously injured and after retrieving his helmet he went back to working on the smoldering fire
San Bernardino County Sun
REDLANDS, Calif. — Pathway Church’s Sunday school classrooms and nursery were damaged Tuesday afternoon when a three-alarm fire ripped through the building.
“I heard a bunch of sirens, came outside and it was our church that was on fire,” said Sr. Pastor Jonathan Jarboe. The damaged building was built in the 1950s and was the primary church for about a decade.
The classrooms are usually only used on weekends, but Jarboe said there was a women’s group of about 20 that met in the building earlier in the day.
“Luckily no one was hurt,” Jarboe said.
Shortly after 1 p.m., firefighters were called to the church at 611 E. Cypress Ave. for reports of smoke coming from the building’s attic.
Heavy smoke and flames could be seen coming from the roof. The fire may have possibly started on the outside, said Fire Marshal George Avery, but a cause has not been determined.
Jarboe did confirm, however, there were roofers working on the building when the fire broke out. The workers remained at the scene.
Several fire agencies, including those from San Bernardino County, San Bernardino City, Colton, Yucapia and CalFire, were called to help with the blaze. After the fire was knocked down, a San Bernardino City firefighter fell through a portion of the building, his booted foot seen sticking out of the roof. Avery said the firefighter was not seriously injured, and after retrieving his helmet, went back to working on the smoldering fire.
A county firefighter, though, was taken to the hospital for a heat-related injury, Avery added.
Cypress Avenue, near Redlands Boulevard, was shut down while firefighters worked to put out the blaze.
The first Pathway Church was founded on March 8, 1950, on Washington and Union street in North Redlands. Just five years later, the church moved to its current location on the corner of Redlands Boulevard and Cypress Avenue. The building comfortably housed the three-dozen or so parishioners but the church continued to grow.
On April 3, 1966, their new and current sanctuary, which holds 500 people, opened and the old church was turned into classrooms.
A smiling Jarboe watched as firefighters brought soaked toys, videos and other classroom items out of the classrooms.
“It’s only stuff,” he said. “That can be replaced. People can’t. It’s only stuff.”
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