3-Alarm fire destroys Bear Creek Community Church sanctuary

A fire broke out in the morning hours of Thursday, Dec. 28, at Bear Creek Community Church in Irving off of Finley Road.

The 2-alarm fire was called in around 6:10 a.m. Upon the firefighters’ arrival at 6:15 a.m., flames and smoke were emerging through the roof. The fire was then upgraded to a 3-alarm fire.

After investigation, the firefighters ruled out fowled play, and the blaze was determined to be an accidental fire.

The fire was contained to the sanctuary part of the building. Since the center of the sanctuary had no support, the fire damages caused the walls to be weakened, so it will need to be rebuilt. The rest of the church suffered water damage.

The church was originally built in 1969. Part of the church, known as the sanctuary, also serves as homeless shelter. This temporary housing program only serves as a shelter when the temperatures drop below freezing. Everyone evacuated the building safely, and no injuries were reported. 

“As far as we know there were people in the building when the fire broke out,” Rick Sanderson, Battalion Chief of training and communications of Irving Fire Department, said. “There were homeless folks in the other part of the building, and we checked in on them. We got everything under control around 7:12 a.m.”

To contain the fire, the fire department used seven fire engines and four fire trucks, 23 pieces of equipment and 45 fighters. Since the fire extended rapidly and created a large amount of destruction, the firefighters are looking for a way to safely take the sanctuary down.

The City of Irving Emergency Management Coordinator and the Red Cross were searching for locations where the homeless people could stay.