Congregation Resumes Sunday Service Despite Fire That Destroyed Church

The fire, which started in the back of an Overtown duplex, destroyed a neighboring church Friday.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A congregation gathered at a nearby lot Sunday for service after their church was destroyed by a fire. NBC 6's Jamie Guirola reports. (Published Sunday, Jun 1, 2014)

    Just 48 hours after a fire ripped through an Overtown church, the smell of burn is still in the air.

    The fire started in the back of a duplex at 219 NW 14th Terrace in Miami and quickly spread to the entire building and then a neighboring church.

    Fire Ravages Miami Duplex

    [MI] Fire Ravages Miami Duplex
    A fire tore through a downtown Miami duplex and church Friday night leaving one person dead. (Published Friday, May 30, 2014)

    Despite the church being locked up, with yellow tape still in place, parishioners from the Christ church of the Living God are determined to keep the faith.

    Churchgoers moved chairs to an empty lot nearby on Sunday. With bibles in hand and emotions running high, they stood tall, sang hymns and prayed in the face of adversity.

    "The building is down, but I am still standing," said a parishioner who did not want to be named. "The building is gone, but I am here, for I am the church."

    The church's pastor, Bishop James, preached Sunday from the lot as his pulpit stood in debris.

    "It's very painful and mournful for us and for the people," he said. "We miss the church so bad. The people in the neighborhood miss the church and this is just something."

    A total of 40 Miami firefighters were on the scene at one point working on the fire. Fire crews had to cut power to the entire block because their rescue equipment was getting too close to the power lines in the area. The fire shutdown NW 14th Street as firefighters battled the blaze.

    The flames could be seen across downtown including as far away as the AmericanAirlines Arena where the Miami Heat was playing Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers.

    The fierce flames ripped through the roof of the church and shattered the stained glass as the structure was reduced to ash.

    But the pastor says he and his congregation are ready to rebuild and move forward.

    "Trust God and The Lord will make a way, The Lord will fix it, He will work it out," James said.

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