Nov 10, 2012 8:04 PM by Siera Santos,

Church burns hours before grand opening

It was supposed to be a new beginning for a local church, but a fire changed that overnight.

The building had just undergone major renovations and a grand opening was slated for Sunday. In light of the interior destruction, the grand opening and all services have been suspended.

"It was so heartbreaking," Pastor Doug Anderson said, "People have worked so hard getting read for this and sacrificed so deeply and it was just crushing."

People from all faiths and backgrounds showed up Saturday morning to help get the church back on its feet. Anderson said people he didn't even know were helping pick up glass and cut plywood. Despite the setback, the pastor and members of Restoring Hope are faithful this is all part of a bigger plan.

"God's always got it. He says all things work for good so I believe that," said Anderson with a smile.

The priority Saturday was boarding up the windows to keep people out.

"A lot of people in the neighborhood are going to be cold tonight and we're hoping none of them try to get in because it's not a safe place to be tonight, especially because of the chemicals that are in the air," said Anderson.

With all the melted plastic, toxicity levels inside are still high.

First Presbyterian on Tejon has opened up their doors and is allowing Restoring Hope to hold their 6 p.m. service there in the Social Hall Sunday night. Quite a few churches offered to host the service, but because Restoring Hope serves such a large homeless population, they needed some where within walking distance.

The cost of the damage is still unknown. The structural integrity of the building is still intact but personal losses, such as sound equipment, are near 100-percent. The fire sparked around 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning at the Restoring Hope Church at Pikes Peak and Walnut in Colorado Springs.

One man was in the basement when the fire started and hospitalized for smoke inhalation. A CSFD firefighter also had a minor injury.

It's believed to have been caused by an electrical fire in the ceiling between floors.

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