Smoky Fire Damages Riverside Church; Services Relocated

Riverside city firefighters extinguished a fire inside a church that was left heavily damaged by the flames, authorities said Monday.

The fire at Magnolia Presbyterian Church at 7200 Magnolia Ave. was reported at 7:11 p.m. Sunday, Riverside Fire Battalion Chief Todd Gooch said.

"The first arriving unit found heavy smoke conditions to the rear of the church sanctuary," Gooch said. "Multiple units performed an aggressive attack on the fire which was controlled in just over one hour." The knockdown time was 8:32 p.m.

No injuries were reported.

The fire started in a room that contained a compressor that provided air to the church organ, he said. The cause of the fire was "undetermined" after an investigation.

"We are ... grateful for the work of Riverside's firefighters," church officials posted overnight on Facebook. "They are awesome."

"We are reminded that this season is not about stuff or a building, but about The Light that came into the world. Jesus. We are planning to maintain our 7 p.m. Christmas Eve Service and will post more information by noon about the location."

Christmas Eve services will be held at the church's old location, right next door, tonight at 7 p.m.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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