Orosi Church Fire

September 11, 2008 12:05:11 AM PDT
A man arrested as a suspect in Monday's fire that destroyed a historic church in Orosi has been released from custody.The Tulare County District Attorney did not find enough evidence to charge Manuel Esquivel Ortiz with arson. Ortiz was arrested near the scene of the fire on Monday morning.

The blaze destroyed the Orosi Baptist Church. Despite the fire church members gathered in a parking lot across the street from the burned out building for services on Wednesday night.

Pastor Alfred De La Cerda delivered a rousing sermon, and pledged the church would rise again.

He says, "We're going to continue. Our plans right now, we met with the insurance companies. We're way underinsured but that's not going to stop us, we're going to continue."

De La Cerda says he recently cut back on the Church's insurance coverage to save money. He says the damage is estimated at over a million dollars, while insurance will cover only half of that amount.

He will rely on members and the community to help the rebuilding effort.

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