A second Toledo church fire in as many days caused an estimated $100,000 in damage to a 90-year-old church on Lawrence Avenue.
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A 7:37 a.m. call reported a fire at 2013 Lawrence Ave., which Lucas County records say is owned by Richard’s Temple of Deliverance Church of God in Christ. Battalion Fire Chief Jerry Takats said firefighters arrived to find heavy smoke emanating from the church’s steeple and an active fire in the center part of the church’s ceiling that ran the length of the sanctuary.
The fire was put out, but not before widespread fire, smoke, and water damage occurred. The flames left a long, dark scar above the sanctuary’s center aisle with charred wood visible. Plaster, insulation, and other debris rained down into the sanctuary while ice coated its red carpeting.
Parts of the church’s lower level also were flooded. Firefighters discovered several burst pipes in a lower-level mechanical room, which resulted in walls of icicles filling the room. Chief Takats said it was unclear if the damaged pipes were a result of the firefighting effort or if they were a separate problem.
The fire’s cause remained unknown later Saturday. An arson investigator and a representative of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were participating in the investigation. A contact person for the church could not be located Saturday.
Braden United Methodist moved out of the 1923-built church near the corner of Lawrence and Woodruff avenues in 2009 to a new location on Dorr Street.
Chief Takats said officials were working to determine if Saturday morning’s fire was related in any way to an inferno Friday afternoon that destroyed the 111-year-old St. Mark Baptist Church at 1419 N. Detroit Ave.
That fire remained under investigation Saturday. Today’s services and Sunday school for St. Mark were moved to the Driscoll Alumni Center auditorium on the main University of Toledo campus, 2801 W. Bancroft St. Sunday school will start at 10 a.m. and the main service at 10:45 a.m., with parking available off University Hills Boulevard.
Arielle Campbell, a church secretary, said Saturday the church had received several inquiries about donations to start a restoration fund for St. Mark. Any such donations should be mailed to P.O. Box 350515, Toledo, OH 43615, she said.