Massive Fire Destroys Future Southern Baptist Church Senior Center Amid Baltimore Riots

(PHOTO CREDIT: Cameron Thompson/NewsRadio 99.1)
(PHOTO CREDIT: Cameron Thompson/NewsRadio 99.1)

A massive, 3-alarm fire emitted clouds of smoke and large flames in Baltimore Monday night as the city tried to stop riots following Freddie Gray’s funeral.

WNEW’s Cameron Thompson reports around 9 p.m. the fire engulfed the foundation of a senior center under construction at Lanvale St. and Chester St.

The nearby Southern Baptist Church was building the center to provide 60 affordable apartments and behavioral counseling for seniors.

“We’re going to rebuild. We’re going to come back strong from this,” says the church’s pastor Donte Hickman.

Pastor Donte Hickman, who’s church’s prjct burns behind, says he hopes tonight is a wake up call. “Enough is enough” http://t.co/aM2Cf76Z2w
Cam Thompson WNEW (@CamThompsonWNEW) April 28, 2015

Southern Baptist Church group in prayer. Pastor says they’ll grow stronger from this, won’t give up on community. http://t.co/fWUSMmyftn
Cam Thompson WNEW (@CamThompsonWNEW) April 28, 2015

The fire was one of many the Baltimore City Fire Department battled as riots erupted throughout the city.

Mayoral spokesman Kevin Harris says the fire was related to the riots and Baltimore’s deputy fire chief says the department is “99 percent sure” it is linked to the riots.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake went to the site of the fire and spoke with Hickman.

[email protected]MayorSRB says they’re focused on “bringing an end to the chaos”. Destruction has been “heartbreaking”. http://t.co/KWs0LYHB03
Cam Thompson WNEW (@CamThompsonWNEW) April 28, 2015

By about 11 p.m. the fire was starting to subside.

Baltimore Deputy Fire Chief says fire will likely be under control tonight but they won’t inspect until tomorrow http://t.co/nCwonD87Q4
Cam Thompson WNEW (@CamThompsonWNEW) April 28, 2015

No one was believed to be in the building at the time.

SOURCE: CBS DC Local, The Associated Press