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3-Alarm Fire Destroys Church in Oakland

A three-alarm fire that broke out late Sunday night destroyed the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Oakland, according to the fire department.

Firefighters responded at about 10:45 p.m. to reports of a structure fire at the church, which is located on Telegraph Avenue near West MacArthur Boulevard. Crews battled the blaze for several hours before containing it.

No injuries were reported.

First African Methodist Episcopal Church Pastor Rodney D. Smith said the fire feels like a bad dream.

“This is the oldest Black church in the East Bay,” Smith said. “This church educated Black and brown people 20 years before people were able to get an education in this area. We have started schools. We have educated. We have sent children to college. We’ve done all those things. We feed the community, those who are in need of food. We go to the homeless shelters. This is a community church.”

Investigators determined where the fire started, but the cause wasn’t immediately known, the fire department said.

The blaze does not appear to be suspicious, and no other buildings were affected, according to the fire department.

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Source: NBC Bay Area

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