Fire burns older part of First Baptist Bossier City

An early morning fire heavily damaged older portions of the campus of First Baptist Church of Bossier City in Bossier City, La.
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BOSSIER CITY, La. (BP) -- A pre-dawn fire heavily damaged the older sanctuary and nearby areas of First Baptist Church of Bossier City today (Dec. 10), pastor Brad Jurkovich told Baptist Press as firefighters battled the blaze for hours.

No one was injured and the cause of the fire at the megachurch had not been established as fire fighters got the blaze under control, Jurkovich said four and a half hours after engines arrived.

"The older parts of our campus are badly damaged if not completely destroyed," Jurkovich said. "But we don't know the cause of it. No one has been hurt. Of course it was early in the morning, so no one was on the campus."

Firefighters called Jurkovich around 5:30 a.m. to inform him of the fire. The pastor expressed gratitude and concern.

"I'm grateful that no one's been hurt. So we're just praying that they can get this out as quickly as possible," he said. "We'll start assessing the damage. But it's really been amazing, the outpouring of support."

Weekday ministries are directly affected, Jurkovich said.

"I don't know all what we'll need to do. There's some logistics because there's just some ministries that took place in these facilities Monday through Friday," he said. "So we're just going to have to meet with our team today and start assessing some of those logistics. But just now, people being available and willing to help has really meant a lot to us."

Prayers have been offered nationally and the local community has responded with help and support.

"So many people really from across the nation have really been praying for us," Jurkovich said. "People from all across the community have been offering to help. So that's been very encouraging. I'm very, very thankful for that."

Firefighters were able to keep the flames from spreading across the church campus, Bossier City Fire Department spokeswoman Traci Landry said.

"The old sanctuary has been affected," WAFB–TV quoted Landry. "The new sanctuary, the firefighters did everything they could to save that and right now at this point it is safe."

The church at 2810 E. Texas St. has 5,716 resident members and averages 1,996 in weekly worship, according to Southern Baptist Convention church profile data.

Diana Chandler is Baptist Press' general assignment writer/editor. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists' concerns nationally and globally.
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