On Monday night, March 20, a major eight-alarm fire devastated the Fountain of Life Center. It threatened a local school, leaving the structure in ruins.
According to CBS News, over 100 firefighters could be found at the Fountain of Life Center in Florence Township at 2035 Columbus Rd., NJ, shortly after 6 p.m.
The church was responded to by emergency response teams from five different counties in New Jersey working together to extinguish the roaring fire and thick smoke that had engulfed the building.
Russell Hodgins, a senior Fountain of Life Center pastor, referred to the event as a painful loss.
He said that the sanctuaries had been destroyed by fire. "The image of the roof caving in is pretty ingrained in my head at this point."
All of the church's front facade was consumed by the flames. According to Hodgins, a dome and cross on the roof fell into the sanctuary.
Robert Tharp, the administrator of the Florence Township Fire District, stated that firefighters did an enormous job of trying to stop the fire interiorly; however, due to the size of the building and the amount of fire that was there, they were forced to switch it to a defensive operation.
The firefighters' primary emphasis was preventing the fire from spreading to a K-12 school building adjacent to the blaze.
As reported, there have been no injuries that have been recorded.
The authorities are currently investigating the origin of the fire at this time.
According to Hodgins, the classes scheduled for approximately 300 pupils will not be held again.
The pastors at Fountain of Life, however, have asserted that the congregation itself is more important than the church's physical structure.
Matthew Boudwin, the student ministries pastor of the Fountain of Life Center, stated, "We have a link that's directly linking our church building auditorium to our school, so hopefully that isn't disrupted."
It connects the church building to the school.
Moreover, it is challenging to accept the loss for many people, like Boudwin, whose grandparents were among those who assisted in the construction of the church in 1969.
According to Boudwin, "This church is everything to me, and to a lot of other people as well."
Despite all, the community of Christians remains together in their religion despite the catastrophe.
The fire has profoundly impacted the Fountain of Life Center church community, NBC 10 reported.
As a church member, William Jackson reportedly conveyed his sorrow by describing the situation as "heartbreaking" and "heavy." The severity of the fire brought down the entire roof of the church, along with the recognizable cross that had been perched on it.
James Brown, another church member, characterized the cross as a sign recognized in the neighborhood for several decades and has always been presumed to be a permanent feature.
There is a second location of the Fountain of Life Center in Trenton, New Jersey, which also serves as a huge church with seating for up to three thousand individuals.
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