Plenty of Chicago churches offer fiery rhetoric. But real flames at a Northwest Side church caused enough damage that the steeple had to be torn down.

In February, there was a fire at the Salvation and Deliverance Ministries International church in the 1500 block of North Spaulding — a building more than a century old in  Humboldt Park.

According to the Chicago Fire Department, there was no electricity or gas service in the steeple, “and the fire seems to have been concentrated at the top of the steeple,” so lightning is suspected to have been the cause.

That was the second church fire in Chicago this year. There were six in 2017, four in 2016, six in 2015 and four in 2014, one resulting in an injury.

Curtis Stennis, senior pastor of the Salvation and Deliberation Ministries church, said his Pentecostal-charismatic congregation got together on Easter Sunday for their first service since the fire. More than 200 people attended.

Stennis said the steeple — with its clocks and copper point — was severely damaged and had to be torn down, but the sanctuary of the red-brick structure wasn’t badly affected.

The congregation has been in the building — which was once a Lutheran church — for more than 30 years.

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