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Video: Chicago FFs battle 3-alarm church fire, collapse

Firefighters avoided injury when the steeple of the 100-year-old church collapsed


Chicago Fire Department/X

By Deanese Williams-Harris, Ilana Arougheti
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — The steeple of a century-old church collapsed Saturday morning during an extra-alarm blaze in the East Side neighborhood on the Far South Side, fire officials said.

The blaze broke out at about 4 a.m. at Advocate United Church of Christ, a 3 1/2-story church with a truss roof at 10259 S. Avenue L. A 2-11 alarm was initially called but later upgraded to a 3-11 alarm when a steeple on the side of the structure fell, fire officials said.

About 100 firefighters attacked the blaze and CTA warming buses were called to the scene when officials requested the evacuation of residents from adjacent homes, officials said.

The extra-alarm fire was struck down shortly before 8 a.m.

No injuries were reported at the scene, and the cause of the blaze was under investigation.

The historic building was home to the Advocate United Church of Christ since 2013, From 1922 until 2013, St. Petri United Church of Christ held worship services there.

St. Petri was founded in 1885 before moving to the historic building on South Avenue L in 1922, former St. Petri pastor Bob Hempel wrote on Facebook on Saturday.

“I was sad to see the building burn, especially seeing the iconic steeple collapse,” Hempel wrote. “You could see the steeple driving on the Chicago Skyway.”

The Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ also offered condolences to the Advocate congregation Saturday.

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