An early-morning fire left damage to a church that has been open to congregants in midtown Houston for more than a century.
Firefighters arrived before 5 a.m. Monday to the First Evangelical Lutheran Church on Holman Street and found smoke coming from a room in the front of the building. They made a fast attack to prevent the fire from spreading to other rooms in the church.
"Smoke inside the building, looks like it started behind the breaker box, so the crews went in, had to force entry into the doors, and then once the fire was extinguished, we had heavy smoke conditions on the inside," said Herman Gonzalez, Deputy Chief with the Houston Fire Department.
Because of the smoke, Deputy Chief Gonzalez said fans were set up to push the smoke out of the building.
One of three stained glass windows at the church was destroyed in the fire. The building was also left with smoke damage which Deputy Chief Gonzalez described as light-to-moderate.
No one was injured in the fire.
Arson investigators are trying to determine what cause the fire, but a preliminary assessment by firefighters indicated an electrical problem.
The First Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded in 1851 and was the site of both the first Lutheran congregation in Houston and the second Lutheran congregation in Texas history. The building damaged Monday first opened in the late 1920s and was the third building occupied by the church.
The first church building was erected in the intersection of Milam Street and Texas Avenue, but in 1901, the church was moved to a building in the intersection of Texas Avenue and Caroline Street.