Fire destroys 100-year-old Del Rey church

FRESNO, Calif.

The pastor of the 60 member church says this building is about 100 years old. There was only one room inside and just three walls are left standing.

The impression of a cross is burned into a wall inside the Shining Light Ministry Church. The roof is gone and everything inside the building is destroyed.

The church's leader, Pastor Andy Holguin, lives next door to the church. Early Sunday morning he heard a knock at his door from someone warning about the fire. "I looked out and I seen a couple so I ran downstairs and I asked them how could I help them and they said that the church was burning."

An Action News viewer sent us a picture and from a distance a billow of smoke is seen from the fire. Based on the extensive damage, the wood-framed building, which has been in Del Rey for close to a century, burned quickly.

At one point fire fighters thought the church's 80 foot tall steeple was going to collapse. "We brought out our ladder truck and our truck company crews just basically took the steeple down in pieces until we could get to a point that we felt like it was secure enough," Chris Bump said.

Despite this major loss, the congregation still spent Sunday morning praying. Services were moved to the Del Rey District Hall about a mile away.

"When I found out about the church, it broke my heart," Vangie Weston said. Weston and her husband Marvin have been with Shining Light Ministries for the past 6 years.

They say chruch members are already talking about building a new church. "We will regroup and we will be okay," Marvin Weston said.

"They just said, you know, we're ready to roll up our sleeves, do what we have to do. And we're believing that God's going to provide all material needs, everything that needs to be done so we can get the church back up and continue to have services there," Pastor Holguin said.

Fire Fighters are still investigating the cause of the fire but they say it does not appear suspicious.

The Shining Light Ministry is celebrating 15 years in Del Rey, and just the day before the fire, they ordained two new pastors inside the church.

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