CA – An accidental explosion and fire Wednesday caused $250,000 damage to Potrero’s oldest church, authorities said.
The 10:24 a.m. blaze at the 55-year-old Potrero Community Church, some 45 miles east of San Diego, was caused when a heater ignited liquid propane leaking from pipes in the lower level of the two-story church, said CalFire Capt. Preston Fouts.
The explosion blew out windows, and the fire gutted the building’s first floor and caused smoke damage to the second floor. No one was injured.
Timothy Hammers, 42, a member of the nondenominational Christian church who lives a mile away, said he heard a loud bang and saw his front door move inward. He said he thought someone was banging on his home. He ran outside, saw smoke coming from the top of the church and called 911.
The first fire engine arrived about 10:26 a.m., Fouts said. Two dozen firefighters brought the blaze under control around 11:15 a.m., using six fire engines and two water trucks.
Dick Miller, a church elder, said the congregation of 40 will continue holding regular meetings in another building that has yet to be selected.
Then they will have to decide whether to rebuild or replace the church, which he said was not insured.
The Lord controls this whole operation, Miller said. There are reasons for everything that happens. We’ll find that out later.