PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Members of a Paterson, N.J., church which burned to the ground Wednesday are keeping the faith while they rebuild.
Pastor Jose Luis Castro was outside the church Thursday to talk with church members and dust off a briefcase recovered from the rubble.
About 40 people were inside Central Baptist Church for bible study the night of the fire and say before they saw smoke or flames, they smelled trouble.
“Scents of burning wires, something like that,” Castro told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.
After that, the smoke started billowing from the steeple and roof, which Castro said was just worked on earlier Wednesday.
“We don’t know what happened,” he said.
Sixty firefighters came to the scene to fight the fire. They were still watering down hotspots hours after the fire began.
“The roof quickly collapsed, and with these conditions, they’ve been fighting from a defensive mode pretty much early on since they got here,” said Paterson fire Chief Michael Postorino.
Investigators are looking into what caused the fire, which only damaged siding and windows of neighboring houses. However, only the brick foundation of the church stands, which was built in 1868.
One firefighter suffered injuries that were not considered serious. No church members or other civilians were hurt.
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