Glen Burnie church is reduced to mostly rubble in 4-alarm fire Co-minister says services will be in his home today

March 16, 1997|By Jill Hudson | Jill Hudson,SUN STAFF

The husband-and-wife ministers could do little but watch last night as their Glen Burnie church was largely destroyed in a four-alarm fire.

But even as firefighters hosed down the last flames in the rubble of the 50-member Community Church of God on Fifth Avenue S.E., the Rev. W. David Harness said its work would go on -- starting at 11 a.m. today, with services moved to the living room of his home next door.

"The thing is, a church is not just a building, and the work of the church goes on," said Harness, 30, co-minister with his wife, the Rev. Beth McCracken Harness, 29.

The ministers were alerted to the blaze by neighbor Marilyn Irwin and stepped out of their house at 302 Fifth Ave. S.E. as the first of some 60 firefighters arrived.

Flames had already engulfed half of the single-story brick building nestled in a residential community; by the time the blaze was declared under control about 9: 30 p.m., roughly 75 percent of the church lay in ruins, according to Lt. Robert Kornmann, a county Fire Department spokesman. No injuries were reported.

"The bad thing is we just spent $20,000 to $30,000 remodeling the building," Harness said. He said the improvements included building new Sunday school rooms and installing new carpet and new paneling decor, along with buying a computer and copier.

Harness said a county fire inspector had been there Tuesday and gave the church a clean bill of health.

The cause of the blaze was under investigation.

Pub Date: 3/16/97

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