3-alarm fire nearly destroys historic Third Ward church

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A fast-moving fire nearly destroyed a historic church in Third Ward this morning.

The church suffered extensive smoke damage, but church members still plan to meet today for praise and worship.

The fire at St. John's Missionary Baptist Church on Dowling near McGowen started just after 1:30am.

The fire started inside a classroom building attached to the church, and the flames were so intense, it quickly turned into a three-alarm fire.

Flames gutted the classroom, but the sanctuary and chapel was mostly spared.

The Houston Fire Department cut power to the building, which means right now the church doesn't have lights. However, church members say they still have God's light and that is all they need.

No one was hurt and it's still not clear what started the fire.

The church has moved services to the Crown Plaza Hotel at 610 and Kirby, across from NRG.

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