By Chris Wright, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa congregation has no home for the holidays. Fire claimed the City of Refuge Ministries building on Saturday. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Nearby churches say City of Refuge has been a wonderful neighbor and they hope the entire north Tulsa community will help the congregation recover from the fire.
By the time Tulsa Firefighters arrived Saturday afternoon, smoke was billowing from the City of Refuge Ministries. Using nine fire engines and four ladder trucks, TFD was able to get the fire under control, but not before the building sustained heavy damage.
Officials say a congregation lost its home, and north Tulsa lost an important part of its community.
"This church is instrumental in the neighborhood. They do a lot of substance abuse, a lot of neighborhood feeding programs for not only families and the homeless, so it's going to be a huge impact for the neighborhood," said Tulsa Fire Captain Michael Baker.
City of Refuge is pressing on, though. It held Sunday morning services at the Radisson Hotel near 41st and Garnett. Meanwhile, their neighbors are looking to help.
"Our doors are open, and our people are open to helping anyway that City of Refuge needs helping," said Curtis Ball, Jr. with Agape Outreach Ministries.
Minister Curtis Ball says he showed up shortly after the fire department Saturday. At first, he thought his Agape Outreach Ministries, which sits on the other side of the street, was on fire. When he learned it was City of Refuge, he says his brief feeling of relief immediately turned to empathy.
"Anything catastrophic of this nature, or any nature especially around the Christmas time, it can be devastating," said Curtis Ball, Jr. with Agape Outreach Ministries.
Other church leaders echo that sentiment, and say the neighborhood will chip in to assist one of its own.
"The time that we're living in, and seeing how rough it is, it's certainly devastating, but maybe with the help of the community and the churches, we can help them get back on their feet," said Pastor Layla Caldwell with Agape Outreach Ministries.
Church leaders discovered the fire when they arrived to prepare for Sunday services. The good news is that no one was inside, and no one was hurt during the fire.
12/06/2008 Fire Destroys North Tulsa Church