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Historic Church In The Heights Heavily Damaged By 2-Alarm Fire

The fire at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church started shortly before 1 p.m. It escalated and seven fire trucks had to be deployed.

A 2-alarm fire damaged St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in the Heights, north of downtown Houston, on Sept. 20, 2019.

A 2-alarm fire caused significant damage to a historic church in the Heights, north of downtown Houston.

Houston Fire Deputy Chief Richard Galvan told News 88.7 firefighters were dispatched Friday at 12:45 p.m. to St. Mark’s United Methodist Church. The fire escalated and seven fire trucks had to be deployed.

Galvan said the fire damaged the second story of the south section of the church. At 3:30 p.m. the fire hadn’t been extinguished and firefighters were still putting out a couple of spots, according to Galvan. He said some personnel were working at the church when the fire broke out, but they had all been accounted for.

Arson investigators were on the scene, but it was too early to tell what caused the fire, according to Galvan.

Scott Stevens, a Heights resident who has been a St. Mark’s parishioner for more than ten years, told News 88.7 the church is an icon in the neighborhood.

“It’s a very open church. We like to invite the neighbors every Christmas time, for the Christmas pageant, all kinds of people come from the neighborhood,” Stevens said, adding he felt shocked by the incident.

Stevens noted the church has a lot of antiques, including furniture from the 1930s. “It’s going to take some really big rebuilding. There’s storage up in the attic that’s used for Christmas and different seasonal festivities.”

Houston firefighters fight a fire that broke out at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church on Sept. 20, 2019. The historic church is located in the Heights neighborhood, north of downtown Houston.

The cornerstone for St. Mark’s United Methodist Church was laid on August 10, 1939, after the merger of the Norhill Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Woodland Heights Methodist Episcopal, South, according to the church’s website. The church’s origins in Houston date even further back to the 1870s.

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Dave Fehling

Director of News and Public Affairs

As Director of News and Public Affairs, Dave Fehling manages the radio news operation at Houston's NPR station. Previously, he was a reporter at the station, covering the oil & gas industry and its impact on the environment. He won top state honors for in-depth and investigative reporting as well...

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