An investigation is under way to determine the cause of a three-alarm blaze that engulfed a 115-year-old stone church in the Parkside section of West Philadelphia.
Investigators are aware of cell-phone video that was taken before the fire erupted Tuesday and showed a worker with a propane tank on the roof of the Greater Bible Way Temple at 52nd and Warren Streets, but have not yet pinpointed the cause, officials said.
After pouring water on the church all night to dampen hot spots, firefighters returned around 12:25 p.m. Wednesday to deal with a small fire that had rekindled in a window sill.
Officials from the city Department of Licenses and Inspections the meantime were working with church leaders on securing the site.
Fire Department officials earlier expressed concerns about the possible collapse of parts of the heavily damaged building.
The fire was reported around 2:45 p.m., and arriving firefighters found “fire showing on the roof line and smoke coming from the steeple,” the Fire Department posted on Twitter.
The second alarm was struck just before 3 p.m. and the third around 5 p.m. The fire was declared under control shortly after 6 p.m.
No injuries were reported at the church, which houses a child care center. Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said a person near the scene was taken to a hospital.
6ABC broadcast the cell phone video showing a man with a propane tank working on the roof of the church prior to the blaze.
About 75 Fire Department personnel responded to the former St. Gregory’s Roman Catholic Church, built in 1904. The parish was founded in 1895 and closed in 1981, according to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia website.
In 2011, the building that formerly housed St. Gregory’s Parish School on nearby Lancaster Avenue was destroyed in a fire.
Firefighters remained at the scene all night dampening hot spots in the building.