Roofers Making Repairs May Have Sparked Allentown Church Fire

082914-pittsburgh-allentown-church-fireBy David Highfield – KDKA

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Flames were relentless as they spread through the roof of the Hill Top United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh’s Allentown neighborhood Thursday afternoon.

Church members were forced to watch a building burn where so many memorable moments in life have happened for them.

Rev. Sue Hutchins says some workers were resealing part of the roof when it’s believed the fire started.

“Using a hot torch or something, and in that process they caught the church roof on the fire, and as they tried to put it out it was engulfed almost immediately,” said Rev. Hutchins.

She says the church is also the Allentown Senior Center, and she rushed over to make sure the few seniors inside at the time got out safely.

Pittsburgh Fire Chief Darryl Jones says he was concerned for his firefighters’ safety because of a fear of a backdraft or that the roof would collapse.

He says when he arrived, “It looked very, very bad.”

He says damage inside is extensive and that parts of the ceiling collapsed.

His firefighters did manage to save some meaningful items for the congregation and placed them on the porch of a neighboring house.

In addition to Hill Top United Methodist members, another congregation, also held services in the building.

No one was hurt. However, one of the roofers reportedly started to hyperventilate, but refused medical treatment.

“It’s pretty devastating,” Rev. Hutchins said about watching the flames damage her church. “But God is bigger than anything else, and we’ll be fine. We’ll get through it.”

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