CHICAGO — Oily rags used to apply floor stain are being blamed for the extra alarm fire that ravaged the landmark Shrine of Christ the King church in Woodlawn.continue at DNAinfo
The Chicago Fire Department said spontaneous combustion started the early morning fire.
The smoke detectors went off about 5:45 a.m. in the adjoining rectory and the priests and canons discovered the main structure of the church was on fire.
About 150 firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.
The roof caved in around 8:50 a.m., according to a tweet from the Chicago Fire Department. Deputy Fire Commissioner John McNicholas explained that the church's open, sweeping architecture made it especially susceptible to structural damage as the fire raged inside the building at 6401 S. Woodlawn Ave.
There were no reported injuries, and the eight people in the rectory and approximately 40 people from a nearby shelter for women were evacuated.
The church's congregation and staff prayed across the street as firefighters drenched the roof from two ladder trucks.
Regina Mag recently profiled the church: Chicago’s Infant King Statue Inspires Bright Future
From the Institute: