Faith Tabernacle Fire

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A Rockford area church was seriously damaged when fire swept through the sanctuary. The blaze started early Monday morning at the Faith Tabernacle Church on 20th Street.

It was a rude awakening for church leaders at Faith Tabernacle. Just after 1 a.m. Monday morning, flames erupted from the house of worship.

"It's a little devastating, especially when you look on the inside," said Faith Tabernacle Pastor Marty Caliva.

Church leaders and members gathered to see the damage. They were thankful no one was hurt but surprised by the condition of the church.

"I was really shocked about it because I was just here on Saturday working in my classroom and everything was fine," says Faith Tabernacle preschool teacher Melissa Griffin.

"There was something here and now it looks like it will have to be rebuilt and that's hard," said Pastor Caliva.

Battling the blaze was difficult too. It took firefighters from nine companies nearly three hours to knock down the fire.

"It was kind of a fire that we thought we might have had multiple times and we didn't. With the building construction there were a lot of hidden spaces and some voids," said Cherry Valley fire protect district, Deputy Fire Chief Doug Edwards.

The rest of the day was spent shifting through debris and looking for the cause. Federal and state investigators are assisting because the fire happened at a church.

Students at Faith Tabernacle School had the day off, but Pastor Caliva plans to have kids back in class by Wednesday. This Sunday services will take place in the school gymnasium and it's sure to be an emotional day for Faith Tabernacle's 150 members.