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Hot spots remain in Clearfield church fire

By Peter Samore and David Self Newlin | Posted - Mar 19th, 2013 @ 10:23pm

28 photos

CLEARFIELD — A historic church was engulfed in flames Tuesday afternoon and crews were still fighting hot spots as of Tuesday evening.

Clearfield Community Church caught fire after 3 p.m. Three engines were called to the scene to battle the blaze, with firefighters taking a defensive tack against the extreme heat and thick black smoke, according to Captain Chris Tremea.

Pictures sent in through's iWitness app showed heavy black and gray smoke rising from the building.

Thirteen people, including several teens who were taking a homeschooling class taught by Pastor John Parsley, were able to get out of the building. No one was injured, Tremea said.

Anywhere between 3,000 and 10,000 gallons of water per minute were put on the fire in order to get it under control.

The church, affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, has been a rock in the community since 1945. It is located at 500 East and 200 South.

"We know that there are people in and out of that church all day every day," said neighbor Brandon Montgomery. "The kids are there after church, and we've got a friend that volunteers to read to the children a couple times a week."

According to Pastor Parsley, the church secretary saw smoke downstairs and told the occupants to get out of the building. He said the children also smelled smoke before he knew about the fire, he said.

He is still in good spirits and said the community will come to the aid of the 150 person congregation.

"God built that building, and he'll build us another one, and we'll be fine in the interim," he said. "Palm Sunday is coming and we'll be having services somewhere in the community. Leaders in our community say we can use their facilities as needed."

There is no word yet on what caused the fire. The church is looking for alternative locations to hold Palm Sunday and Easter services.

Video contribution: Andrew Wittenberg


Peter Samore
David Self Newlin

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