Officials tell Action News that kids were playing basketball in the rear of the church when they reported seeing smoke.
FLORENCE TWP., New Jersey (WPVI) -- A massive eight-alarm fire destroyed a church in South Jersey Monday evening.
The flames broke out around 6 p.m. at the Fountain of Life Center located on the 2000 block of Columbus Road in Florence Township.
Officials tell Action News that kids were playing basketball in the rear of the church when they reported seeing smoke. It didn't take long before the building was completely engulfed in flames.
According to Robert Tharp, the fire district administrator for the Florence Township Fire Department, more than 150 firefighters from across South Jersey and Pennsylvania helped fight the flames and supply water.
The fire appeared to be under control as of 11 p.m. Monday, but crews continued to extinguish hotspots on Tuesday morning.
"It's incredibly tragic. This is my entire life and the community here really means everything to me," said Pastor Matthew Boudwin.
Officials with the church are planning to hold Sunday services in a recreation area of the property that was spared by the flames. A K-12 school next door was also not damaged.
"Even though this building could not be saved, they've done everything they can to save our school building, which is attached through a link to the church," added Russ Hodgins, the lead pastor.
No injuries were reported.
Officials believe the blaze may have started in the sanctuary of the church. The exact cause is still under investigation.