Lake Charles Fire Dept. investigating church fire
LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The Lake Charles Fire Department is still investigating an early morning fire at Eastwood Pentecostal Church located on the 2500 block of Opelousas Street.
Crews were seen cleaning out debris after the education building of the church caught fire at around 4:15 a.m. on Wednesday. Church members said no one was inside the building at the time of the fire.
Youth pastor and Eastwood Christian Academy principal Jimmy Trahan said the fire destroyed tangible items in the school's building, such as desks, chairs and school documents.
"The building's been here for over 30 years," he said. "Obviously, the hottest part of the fire was where the most fuel was, which was in our school, so that's where the most flame damage was."
Trahan said the church's contractor is looking into getting modular buildings to continue classes. He said nearly 30 students are enrolled at Eastwood Christian Academy and because the incident occurred so close to the end of the school year, students will most likely be let out early and make up for missed classes either in the fall or in the summer.
"We'll start rebuilding," Trahan said. "We may lose the whole section, but we have yet to discover that, and if we do, we'll just rebuild it."
Trahan said despite the damage, services are scheduled to continue at normal hours.
"We're going to set up all of our portable chairs in the gym area," said Trahan. "We have a stage area, where it's sort of a planned place to have these service type events. We will still have church as scheduled."
Church services are scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday and will continue at 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. on Sunday mornings. Trahan said the LCFD told members it was "perfectly fine" to continue services.
Trahan said he's been attending Eastwood since he was 4 years old, and despite the damage, he and other members have high hopes.
"It's quite devastating to see it happening," he said. "I've learned in this many years that there's always a plan. There's always something good that comes out of the bad, so whatever suffering we endure here ... it's only going to last a little while."
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
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