Fire heavily damages St. Louis Metropolitan Church of Christ

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - An intense overnight fire destroys a North St. Louis church in the Walnut Park neighborhood leaving members stunned.

But a symbol of hope survived the flames and the church`s evangelist is vowing to move forward.

'It`s a bit surreal and disheartening and even discouraging,' said Christopher Mitchell about the fire.

Mitchell is the Evangelist of the St. Louis Metropolitan Church of Christ on West Florissant at Mimika.

Much of the church is now charred rubble after the devastating early morning fire.

Mitchell says the building`s owner was inside and made a simple mistake that led to the fire.

'She was watching the news and she was cooking and she fell asleep and unfortunately a pot caught on fire and that`s how things began,' explained Mitchell.

Firefighters got the call just after 2am Wednesday morning.

Shortly after arriving at the scene, a second alarm was sounded.

Then loud horns went off-the signal for all firefighters to evacuate the building.

'Given the intensity of the fire, given the location of the fire, we were forced to transition from an offensive attack to a defensive attack,' said Captain Gregg Favre with the St. Louis Fire Department.

The building`s owner was already outside when crews arrived.

Authorities did evacuate residents from a house on one side of the church and an apartment on the other side.

Fortunately nobody was hurt.

And in the rubble there was a sign of hope-the outline of a cross which used to be on one of the church walls.

That symbol giving peace to church members like Corliss Burton who was shaken when she saw the fire`s aftermath.

'It`s worse than what I thought. I didn`t think it would be this bad so it caught me, it really caught me off guard. But that cross is still there so he`s got a plan,' explained Burton.

Evangelist Mitchell added, 'God has a way of bringing good out of bad so we`re encouraged and even though we`re disturbed by what happened but we know it`s going to work out for the best.'

Fire investigators are calling the fire accidental backing up the sequence of events that the building owner fell asleep while cooking.

Evangelist Mitchell hopes to rebuild at the same spot saying that is where his church can do the most good.