In this Sunday, July 21, 2019, photo released by the Savannah Fire Department, firefighters work to put out a fire at the First Metropolitan Baptist Church, in Savannah, Ga. A house fire in Savannah spread to the church whose pastor was recently accused of sexually abusing a child. Reports say the homes and church were vacant at the time of the fire, and no injuries have been reported. (Savannah Fire Department via AP)

House fire devours Baptist church in Savannah, Georgia

July 22, 2019 - 8:24 am

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A house fire spread to a house of worship next door, all but destroying the First Metropolitan Baptist Church of Savannah, Georgia.

Savannah Fire Rescue firefighters responding to a two-story house fire late Sunday found the flames had already spread to the First Metropolitan Baptist Church and another nearby home. Reports say the homes and church were vacant at the time of the fire, and no injuries have been reported.

WTOC-TV reported that the church's pastor, Alfonza Peter McClendon, was arrested last month and charged with aggravated child molestation and statutory rape.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Fire officials said Monday that the severity of the blaze blocked firefighters from entering the home where the fire initially started.

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