FORT WAYNE – Smoke and flames damaged a church on Fort Waynes north side early Friday, but not enough to cancel services, a church official said.
Fire crews were sent to the New Life Fellowship Church of God at the corner of Putnam Street and Sherman Boulevard shortly after 1:30 a.m., the Fort Wayne Fire Department said.
When crews arrived, they could see flames in the basement. They searched the three-story building and found no one inside.
The fire was under control in about 20 minutes, the fire department said.
The church pastor, David Shafer, said the flames did not spread beyond the basement. The entire building sustained smoke damage, but the church still planned to hold a service that evening, he said.
Shafer, who volunteers as pastor, earns a living as a contractor and uses the basement of the church as a workshop. He said rags, used in staining siding, spontaneously combusted and started the fire.
The fire department said the cause of the blaze remains under investigation.