Arson blamed for fire that destroyed makeshift New Mexico church

Fire investigators near Albuquerque,New Mexico have determined a fire that destroyed the Pajarito Mesa Community Church of the Nazarene late Wednesday evening,June 27,was intentionally set.

Firefighters responded to an emergency call at approximately 2 A.M.,but by the time they arrived at the church in Albuquerque’s southwest mesa,the structure was completely engulfed in flames.

No one was injured in the fire.

According to New Mexico District Superintendent J. Fred Huff,the building was a temporary shelter being used until the church raised enough money for a permanent building. There was no gas or electricity hooked up to the structure. The makeshift church,described as a “tabernacle, ” was made with metal siding,wood,and supported by two large steel containers with windows.

Lost in the fire was the church’s food pantry,which they used in their ministry to the homeless.

More than 400 families live on the Pajarito Mesa. The Albuquerque Tribune referred to the area as a “do-it-yourself kind of play where residents have built their own city.” With no county services,many residents make their own systems using large barrels and car batteries to give them some semblance of running water and electricity. Also,with no doctors in the area,residents train each other in first aid.

While the church structure was not a polished product with the amenities that many church-goers are used to,it was indeed a church--a place where the community could meet and worship. Led by pastors Larry Scott and Antonio Ramos,the church drew more than 40 people on Thursdays and Sundays.

Scott was out of town at the time of the fire,but Ramos was able to be on the scene shortly after the blaze.

“It’s really hard because tomorrow we were supposed to have a service for the community,for the homeless,but now we just don’t want to do anything, ” Pastor Ramos told KOB TV News in Albuquerque.

KOB also reported the windows of the church were pushed in instead of out,leading many to believe vandals had started the fire. Arson was indeed determined to be the cause later on Thursday.

The New Mexico district superintendent told NCN News,"There is the suggestion that Bibles and Bible study materials were intentionally destroyed, " prompting him to describe the ordeal as, “a spiritual and physical attack on the church.” Huff requested prayer for the safety of the church’s parishioners. One church member told Albuquerque’s KOAT TV News,“The fire would not stop them from worshipping.”

Source: www.ncnnews.com

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    May 15, 2010 by dirt devil 313 | Posted in Houston

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