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Belton church suffers severe damage during midnight mass service

POSTED: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 12:54pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 4:02pm

Clean-up and repairs are already underway for a church that was engulfed in a blaze early Wednesday morning.

The fire at the Catholic church, located in the 200 block of 24th Avenue in Belton, started around midnight. The cause is still undetermined.
 

"It's a sad day for all of us," said Christ the King Catholic Church Facilities Director, Darrell Wallace.

Merely hours after fire crews tirelessly battled flames at Christ the King Catholic Church, church members are already stopping by to see where they can help rebuild.
 

"The church is the people. It's not the building. We can always replace the building, but the church is the people," said Wallace.

Just 20 minutes into a midnight mass service, Rolando Gonzalez said the unthinkable happened. The church was on fire.

"I think initially, most people thought that it was someone might have accidentally pulled the alarm," said Gonzalez.
 

When reality set in, Gonzalez said everyone quickly exited the church and called for help.

"When I actually saw the flames coming out of the door, it was a little scary," said Gonzalez.
 

Fire crews arrived within three minutes and battled the blaze for about three hours.
 

"It was a difficult fire. I mean, it took a lot of work," said Belton Fire Chief Francisco Corona.
 

Half of the church is now damaged. The church has additions attached to an original structure, which made it difficult to locate the fire, Corona said. The original building suffered the most damage, andd repairs are expected to be costly. However, service is expected to still take place this coming Sunday.

"Church must go on," said Wallace.
 

Wallace says this is the church's first fire. Insurance, he says will help cover some of the costs.

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