Pastor vows to rebuild after fire destroys West Englewood church her family started

Firefighters responded to the blaze at Universal Temple of Christ and Training School near 55th Street and Damen Avenue Saturday morning, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

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Universal Temple of Christ and Training School caught on fire February, 4, 2023.

Universal Temple of Christ and Training School caught fire early Saturday morning .

Universal Temple of Christ and Training School Facebook

Days after a fire tore through the church her family started, a pastor is vowing to rebuild “in the exact same spot” in West Englewood.

Firefighters responded to the blaze at Universal Temple of Christ and Training School near 55th Street and Damen Avenue about 7:15 a.m. Saturday, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

Pastor Edrena Bell said she was sleeping when she got a phone call that the church, started by her father-in-law, had caught fire.

“Someone called me and told me the building was on fire and I had to get there right away,” Bell said.

The blaze was so intense a firefighter was injured when flames poured from the building, fire officials said. He suffered minor injuries and was treated at a hospital and released.

The building sustained extensive damage. Bell said her focus will be on raising money to rebuild the church, but she will need to rely on donations because the church wasn’t insured.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, fire officials said.

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