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Fire at Moorhead Baptist Church in North Moorhead - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Fire at Moorhead Baptist Church in North Moorhead

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 A bathroom fan that overheated left Moorhead Baptist Church church in ruins early Monday morning.

Now the families of the church's two pastors who lived there are displaced, but everyone made it out safely. Even though much of the church is destroyed- even the worship area- Valley News Live found that the church member's faith is still intact.

"One thing we know is God is in control. We have a mission here at the church. This is not going to slow us down. We're here about reaching the community for Jesus Christ and that's what we're going to continue to do," says Church Member Larry Mastel.

Mastel was leading the music in the worship service here just yesterday.

"We were kind of astonished that it had gone to this extent. When we drove up there was still smoke coming up and the firemen had been here probably 45 minutes or so," he says.

Investigators say it was an overheated bathroom fan that left most of the building extensively if not completely damaged. Moorhead fire officials say the strong winds today aided the fire, but that wasn't the biggest factor.

"It had gotten into the attic and most likely burned undetected for an extended period of time before we were called," says Moorhead Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Wallin.

They say you should clean out your bathroom fans and have working smoke detectors.

"If you do detect a fire- if it's larger than what you can put out with a  fire extinguisher- first priority is to get everybody out safely, assemble at a rally point to make sure everyone is accounted for and make sure to call 911," says Wallin.

The church's assistant pastor says the congregation understands that a church isn't the building...but the people.

"We've had some good preaching come out of this building and we are just reassured that it's not a big loss for us. We're just moving on," says Mastel.

The pastors tell Valley News Live that the community and area churches have reached out to help- offering their buildings temporarily for services. As soon as plans are ironed out, that information will be posted on the church's website.

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Two families were able to get out safely after a church fire in north Moorhead Monday morning.

Fire crews were called to the Moorhead Baptist Church at 512 Highway 75 North about 5:30 Monday morning.

Firefighters are focused their efforts on the center of the building where the fire is believed to have started.

Officials say the fire moved from the center of the building up into the attic space. The roof in that area has collapsed, and firefighters had to try and prevent flames from moving to either end of the building. 

A Code Red alert was issued for the neighborhood, including the Regal Estates Mobile Home Park, because of heavy smoke in the area.

Moorhead Fire Officials say they believe the fire may have been burning in the attic for "some time" before crews were called.The pastor and assistant pastor of the church, along with their families, lived in a wing of the church.

Both families, 12 people total, were in the building at the time of the fire but all got out safely.

Church members we talked with are staying positive about the situation, saying this must be a sign that they just need to build a new church.

Fargo Fire crews were called in to help fight the flames.  Moorhead Police and the Clay County Sheriff's Office were on scene to help direct traffic.

Red Cross and the Salvation Army is out assisting firefighters that are fighting the fire.
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