First responders leaning on church near Orlando club for support

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In the aftermath of chaos at Pulse nightclub, Christ Church of Orlando has been a true sanctuary for first responders.

In the aftermath of chaos at Pulse nightclub, Christ Church of Orlando has been a true sanctuary for first responders.

The church is just down the street from Pulse.

"We were on the way here for our Sunday morning services," Pastor Paul Valo said, "It was difficult to get here, but we decided we were going to do something to help somehow."

Pastor Valo opened the church doors to volunteers and first responders, allowing them to cool off and think or pray in peace. Church members are also providing food and water.

"The first responders, kind of watching what they're walking through coming in, we're encouraging them and praying for them, too," Valo said.

Orlando police opened up more of Orange Avenue to the public, allowing shooting victims to see Pulse for the first time since the tragedy took place Sunday.

Those victims hope someday Pulse can be a safe place again.

Barbara Poma, the owner of Pulse Nightclub, posted the following statement on the club's website Tuesday afternoon in response to the shooting:

"Like everyone in the country, I am devastated about the horrific events that have taken place today. Pulse, and the men and women who work there, have been my family for nearly 15 years. From the beginning, Pulse has served as a place of love and acceptance for the LGBTQ community. I want to express my profound sadness and condolences to all who have lost loved ones. Please know that my grief and heart are with you."

The City of Orlando will open an assistance center for victims' families Wednesday morning. Counselors will be available to families and volunteers will help coordinate funeral arrangements.

Related Topics:
orlando mass shootingshootingu.s. & worldFlorida
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