Fire Damages Omaha Church

June 29, 2008

OMAHA, Neb. --

An early morning fire Sunday caused heavy damage to an Omaha church.

Firefighters were called to the scene just before 7 a.m. at Greater Bethel Temple near 52nd and Charles streets.

Members of the congregation arrived to find broken windows and piles of charred debris. Most of the damage was contained to the churchs social hall.

Its devastating, its extremely devastating, said church member Rita Dantzler.

Immediately, tears came to my eyes because everything is affected by this, said church member Angel Starks.

Firefighters said the churchs tall ceilings made their job harder. It took about 30 minutes to contain the fire.

Investigators havent said what caused the fire, but some church members are suspicious.

We dont drink and there were beer cans found inside, said church member Debbie Clute. Dantzler said chairs had been moved around like someone had been having a party.

Its too early to say how much it will cost to repair the damages, or how long the work will take. But church members are already looking forward.

We will pull this together, said Dantzler. All these people you see here are just a small amount, but every member of this church will be up here to pull this back together.

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