Homeland church burned down by massive fire continues service

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Sunday service restored at the Community First Church of God in Homeland just one week after a fire destroyed the church's sanctuary.

Sunday service was restored at the Community First Church of God in Homeland, just one week after a fire destroyed the church's sanctuary.

The day's service was held under a tent in the church parking lot.

Many in the congregation said the church had been vandalized before and were worried that the fire had been intentionally set. Pastor Mike Gratzke, however, said the fire was accidental.

The blaze broke out around 8 p.m. Saturday night.

Firefighters attempted to attack the flames from inside the building until the roof of the one-story structure partially collapsed, forcing crews to make a quick exit and fight the fire from the outside.

The fire was knocked down within one hour, but the damage was extensive.

The church was closed and no one was inside at the time of the blaze, police said. No injuries were reported.

Rebuilding may take years, but the church has the support of its community with leaders from all faiths lending a helping hand and making donations.

"Yes, a building burned and it's regrettable, but the Church didn't burn so we're going to have all the people of God, the Church, stand today and we'll have a special service of thanksgiving and rejoicing," Pastor Mike Gratzke with the First Church of God said.

The Community First Church of God plans to hold service in a tent until a more permanent place is found.
Related Topics:
newsfirechurch fireinvestigationHomelandRiverside County
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