Fire damages historic church in Pennsauken

PENNSAUKEN, N.J. (WPVI) -- A fast-moving fire damaged a 150-year-old church in Pennsauken Township, New Jersey.

The fire started around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Temple Praise Ministries Church on the 7500 block of River Road.

Firefighters focused on the basement area of the church.

The blaze quickly went to a second alarm.

Officials say they had to work around several stacked tables and chairs, which made it hard to maneuver.

Crews were able to get the fire under control within 45 minutes.

Members of the church arrived and began boarding up the windows and doors. The founding pastor, Lawrence Adams, arrived with his grandson to help board up the place they vow to rebuild.

"It's kind of sad right now ,but I know God has something better for us. We got to hold our heads up and keep going cause it's just a building," said Adams.

"The church itself, the building, can be rebuilt. But the church itself is the people, it's the community, it's the togetherness, the camaraderie that we have as we come together to worship God. That's all the church is," said his grandson, Seon.

Parishioner Ethel Stroman came by to have a look.

"I am just flabbergasted. That's so surprising. I just feel devastated. Make you feel real sad because now we gotta find a place to go," said Stroman.

"It's a very old church. We had a fire here a number of years ago, but its stood the test of time, and that's a testament to the way it's built. And they will be back for sure, soon enough," said the Pennsauken Fire Chief Joe Palumbo.

There were no injuries reported.

The Pennsauken fire marshal is working to determine the cause.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.