PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Fire officials have ruled the massive fire that destroyed a church in West Philadelphia was an accident. The Greater Bible Way Temple on the 1400 block of North 52nd Street in Parkside burst into flames Tuesday after workers were using an open flame on the roof.
On Wednesday, Licenses & Inspections classified the building as “imminently dangerous,” with concerns about the roof’s integrity. Portions of the building caved into the church and on the street during the three-alarm blaze.
L&I is concerned heavy tiles and other debris are loose and may be dislodged, especially if there are storms or strong winds.
L&I says there are no violations on the church itself, but there are open violations on the attached rectory which are unrelated to the fire. The violations concerned putting housing units into the property. The church had zoning approval for the housing, but it did not complete the safety approval process.
Bishop Benjamin Peterson has vowed to rebuild the church. A GoFundMe has been set up to support the restoration.