East Side church destroyed in overnight fire

Hot spots continued into Saturday morning 

A sanctuary on the city’s East Side was reduced to rubble and ash overnight Friday.

For close to eight hours, fire crews remained at the 4600 block of East Houston Street to fully extinguish the flames that threatened Huntleigh Park Baptist Church.

The fire was called in around 11:15 p.m. Friday.

“The flames were visible from quite a distance, I understand,” Woody Woodward, public relations officer for the San Antonio Fire Department, said.

The small church stood out on the city’s East Side due to its unique A-frame structure. The flames grew in intensity, forcing fire crews to carry out defensive operations.

“There are still some extremely dangerous spots in the center of the main, what I believe to be, (is) the sanctuary of the church,” Woodward said. “(There) was just no way that we were going to go inside that building.”

Overnight fire crews were able to contain the flames however, the structure caught fire again. By Saturday morning, the structure collapsed and only a large pile of charred wood was left.

“We have no idea what caused this fire or any idea of a damage estimate just yet,” Woodward said. Crews remained on the scene throughout Saturday morning to put out hot spots.

With the help of firefighters at the scene, members of the congregation put what little was left from the flames into cardboard boxes. The church’s pastor, Johnny Guyton, said he’s still determining what comes next for his congregation.

Investigators will have to wait for conditions to be safe enough in order to start their investigation and determine what was the cause of the fire.

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