Thursday, Dec 08, 2016
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Police & Fire

Central Toledo church a total loss after massive blaze engulfs structure

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Toledo firefighters battle a fire at Saint Mark Baptist Church in the 1400 block of Fernwood Avenue in Toledo.

The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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Fire destroyed a 111-year-old central Toledo church today.

St. Mark Baptist Church at the corner of Fernwood and North Detroit avenues mostly collapsed after the blaze and the remains were ordered by authorities to be torn down.

Firefighters were called to the scene of the fire at St. Mark shortly after 3 p.m., and the building was soon engulfed in flames.

There has been no reports of injuries and there is no word yet on a cause of the blaze.

PHOTO GALLERY: More photos from the fire

The woman who lives in the home next door has voluntarily evacuated because smoke was coming into her home, but so far, firefighters have managed to keep the fire contained to the church.

Witnesses on the scene said electrical wires are burning and popping and crews from Columbia Gas are on the scene in addition to fire crews.

The church was founded in 1955 by Pastor I.J. Johnson. who moved to Toledo from his native Alabama. He is still the senior pastor there.

On its Web site, the church is described "as a local Bible believing assembly Sanctioned by God, Commissioned by Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is by the grace of God our creator, the love of Jesus Christ our Savior, and the power of the Holy Spirit our Comforter that we have this privilege to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

To help Mr. Johnson, there is a co-­pastor, associate ministers, deacons, and ministry leaders.

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