Fire damages Newport News church building

Posted at 12:24 PM, Mar 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-01 15:30:29-05

Newport News, Va. – Firefighters were on the scene of a fire in the 1100 block of 35th Street.

A call about the fire came in just before 11:30 a.m.

Newport News Fire and Rescue crews came to the Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance and saw heavy smoke coming from the building.

As  firefighters went into the building to fight the fire, another crew was sent to the roof to perform ventilation.

One of the firefighters who was on the roof fell through to about his waistline due to the rotten conditions of the roof. Other firefighters helped him back up onto the roof. Crews were ordered off of the roof because it was too dangerous to operate on.

Crews said the fire was under control just before 12:30 p.m., but are still on the scene opening walls and ceilings to check for hidden fire.

The ATF was called because the building is associated with Gethsemane Baptist Church.

The fire and smoke damage to the inside of the building was extensive. The building is condemned.

Virginia power disconnected the electrical power feed to the building.

Investigators from the Fire Marshal's Office determined that the cause of the fire is accidental.  They say the fire was related to a malfunction in a wall heater.