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UPDATE: Fire guts Pine River church

PINE RIVER--Faith Assembly of God Church in Pine River was gutted by fire Wednesday, May 23. About 2:30 p.m. Wednesday a fire was reported at Faith Assembly of God Church in Pine River. Radio traffic on the police scanner indicated the building w...

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Smoke billows from Faith Assembly of God Church in Pine River after a fire Wednesday, May 23. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch
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PINE RIVER-Faith Assembly of God Church in Pine River was gutted by fire Wednesday, May 23.

About 2:30 p.m. Wednesday a fire was reported at Faith Assembly of God Church in Pine River. Radio traffic on the police scanner indicated the building was "fully engulfed" in flames. Firefighters tried to contain the flames, as well as retrieve whatever documents, books, and valuables could be saved from the church offices.

Pastor Tim Walker said he was on the premises as late as 1:30 p.m. when his wife left for a piano recital without an indication of a fire at that time. Walker said he believes the fire started in a corner of the sanctuary, but a cause wasn't obvious beyond a possible electrical source. The sanctuary, an addition in the 1980s-collapsed. The older portions, including the office, seemed to fare better. They were built sometime in the late 1950s to1960s.

No one was reported injured at the scene Wednesday afternoon.

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Neighbors and congregation members said emergency personnel arrived on the scene about 2 p.m. with flames visible about 45 minutes later.

The Pine River Police Department and Cass County Sheriff's deputies blocked off access from nearby roads and Highway 371.

Fire departments from Pine River, Pequot Lakes and Backus were on scene as was North Memorial Ambulance.

Editor's note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Walker said the older portions of the church were constructed in the late 1940s and 1950s. Actually, Walker said these portions of the church were constructed sometime in the late 1950s to early 1960s. The Dispatch regrets this error.

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