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Washington Park church damaged in overnight fire

The fire was struck out about 4:15 a.m., fire officials said.

Crews work to extinguish a fire at Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church
Crews work to extinguish a fire at Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Englewood on Nov. 14, 2019.
Chicago Fire Department

Authorities suspect a basement heater may have caused a fire early Thursday that damaged a small church in Washington Park on the South Side.

Firefighters responded to a blaze about 3:35 a.m. at Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church, 5847 S. State St., Chicago fire officials said.

The fire was put out at 4:15 a.m., but crews stayed for hours later to extinguish hotspots, fire officials said.

The roof of the church caved in, and there was extensive damage to the building, according to fire department spokesman Larry Merritt. No one was inside the church at the time and no one was injured.

The fire may have been caused by a heater in the church’s basement, a Chicago police spokesperson said.

The church pastor’s son, Herbert Pennington Jr., said a furnace was left running to keep the building’s pipes from freezing, according to WGN-TV.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, fire officials said.