Fire destroys Gary, Indiana church, vacant building

Officials say a fire that destroyed a Gary, Ind., church and neighboring building may be suspicious.
December 5, 2013 9:22:30 AM PST
Officials say a fire that destroyed a Gary, Ind., church and vacant building may be suspicious.

No one was injured Wednesday night when the fire broke out in the vacant building that was once an apartment complex and hotel on 8th Avenue. Flames spread next door to God's House of Prayer, which has a congregation of 25 full-time members and used as a temporary warming shelter and refuge for the hungry and homeless.

''This was a lifeline in the community for many people,'' Pastor Atte Eskew said. ''It's a devastating kind of thing but things like this do happen, we have to get up and keep moving forward so we just believe in God."

Gary Deputy Fire Chief Mark Jones said the vacant building was once the Plaza Hotel. ''They actually shot a movie here years ago, the original gangsters as a matter of fact,'' he said.

The building collapsed in just a few hours. Demolition crews will knock it down.

''As far as the ministry, it seems like there is nothing left, however when I came here and looked and saw the torn sign, it's burnt but there is still hope,'' she said.

Pastor Eskew said the fire was an emotional loss for her congregation, but they are not defeated. They plan to move to a new location. To help God's House of Prayer, call:
(219) 730-8115
(219) 730-4115

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