CHICAGO — A column of thick smoke rose into the air as Chicago firefighters worked to extinguish the flames destroying the home of Beacon Light Ministries on the Far South Side Monday.
Since 2004, Pastor Jerome Powell has used the ministry on the 11000 block of South Michigan Avenue as a spiritual home to help those in Roseland.
"We give out food, clothes, school supplies. Whatever is donated to our ministry we give back to the less fortunate in our community," Powell said. "Everything is just gone."
For now, it’s believed the fire started in the back of the two-story building just after noon Monday. After the roof collapsed, crews fought the fire defensively from the outside because of instability.
Lost in the flames was the second floor, where pastor Powell says his ministry kept donations given out every Sunday morning from an open pantry.
"We work so hard to get the donations. To get back to our community," Powell said. "We come outside the walls of our ministry and provide a helping hand. And to see all of it just... go up in smoke."
Powell said the church is accepting donations through this GoFundMe as they start to rebuild.
Chicago Fire deemed the structure too unstable to enter, after the roof collapsed. The cause of the fire not known, though it may have began in the rear of the building.