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Church fire sparked by furnace

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Two firefighters climb onto the roof of the La Gracia De Jesus Cristo church at 520 E. Fourth St. as they work to put out a fire Wednesday night. (Alex Ross Photo)

The Roswell fire marshal has determined a fire at a local church Wednesday night was started accidentally.

Todd Wildermuth, public information officer for the city of Roswell, said in an email Thursday that the fire at La Gracia De Jesus Cristo, at 520 E. Fourth St., began inside the building and was the result of a floor furnace.

The department received calls at about 6:30 p.m. A caller reported smelling smoke near the church.

No injuries resulted from the fire and no individuals were inside when it started. Although firefighters were able to put out the fire fairly quickly, Wildermuth said the interior of the building sustained significant damage.

As the fire burned, small crowds stood across the street from the scene as plumes of smoke came from the building, watching as some firefighters entered the building through the front entrance with fire hoses, while others climbed onto the roof to combat some flames.

Traffic near the scene of the fire was either slowed or blocked by police Wednesday night.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.