Calgary

Crews battle 'stubborn' 2-alarm fire at house next to First Baptist Church

Fire crews put out a blaze at a house attached to the west side of the First Baptist Church in Calgary's Beltline district Wednesday morning.

House connected to west side of circa-1912 church in Calgary's Beltline

Crews battle a fire at a house attached to the west side of the historic First Baptist Church on 13th Avenue S.W. on Wednesday. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Fire crews put out a two-alarm blaze at a house attached to the west side of the First Baptist Church in Calgary's Beltline district Wednesday morning. 

Someone in the Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre across the street called 911 at about 10 a.m. to report smoke coming from the church buildings at 13th Avenue and Fourth Street S.W.

"When fire crews arrived, smoke and flames were visible and the fire was upgraded to a second alarm," said Calgary Fire Department spokeswoman Carol Henke in a release.

A building adjacent to the historic First Baptist Church in Calgary's Beltline district caught fire Wednesday morning. (@mirotchnik/Twitter)

Nobody was in the house at the time and the adjacent circa-1912 church was evacuated as crews fought the blaze, which Henke described as stubborn.

"The construction of the building hampered firefighting efforts as the fire was easily traveling between the floors, hidden behind walls and along joists," she said.

"Firefighters had to open up the walls in multiple areas inside the building to fight the fire."

Extensive damage to building

There were no injuries. Damage to the house was extensive, but the church was not affected. 

By about noon crews had extinguished the fire and were looking for hot spots. 

Henke said the work was expected to keep fire crews busy through the night. 

As well, 13th Avenue S.W. between 4th Street and 5th Street was expected to remain closed for several hours. 

Smoke could be seen coming from the house attached to the west of the church, and another, newer building attached to the south side of the church. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

The origin and cause of the fire is not yet known, Henke said. 

The house, originally the church manse, is no longer a residence but is used as meeting space for the church.

Jonathon Shierman, associate minister at First Baptist Church, issued a statement thanking first responders.

"We are so grateful for their professionalism, efficiency, and service – especially with the cold weather," he said.

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