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February 19, 2013

Foursquare Gospel Church consumed by fire

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DUNCAN —

“We pulled up and it was totally rolling,” Biffle said.
Garrett Austin, a Duncan firefighter, said he hasn’t seen anything like the church fire since he joined the department about four years ago. Austin was on the third truck to arrive at the scene.
“What’s crazy was the total loss,” Austin said. “We usually stop it before we lose it. It might be gutted, but we usually stop it.”
Austin said firefighters who were on their days off came in to help get the fire under control.
Aside from ensuring there was enough manpower to respond to the fire, there were other concerns for the Duncan Fire Department. Biffle said one of the main concerns was the wind.
“The wind keeps shifting,” Biffle said.
Because of the shifting wind, it was hard for firefighters to predict what direction the fire would attempt to move. The strength of the wind was carrying the fire across Pine to neighboring houses.
Biffle said one house had a corner catch fire because of the fire at the church building. Firefighters, armed with water hoses, stood on the north and south sides, attempting to keep the fire from spreading to other structures.
Burnside said firefighters were set to remain on the scene throughout Monday night into the morning to keep a lookout for hot spots. He said firefighters would rotate every three hours.
“It will probably smolder for a few days,” Burnside said.
The church membership had moved to another location two weeks ago and the original building was put up for sale. Pastor Toby Clark said the last service was held Feb. 3. 
 
Reporter Rebeka Rutledge contributed to this story.

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