Fire Damages Manchester Church

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MANCHESTER, MO (KTVI) - A fire in a large Manchester church was caused by a heating unit early Thursday morning.  Firefighters said they were starting to see more fires sparked by heating units, now that winter has descended on the metro area.

'We`ve had a few more calls from faulty HVAC [heating, ventilation and air conditioning] units in residences,' said Chief Eddie Rhodes of the Metro West Fire Protection District.

One of those calls came from the alarm system at the Community Christian Church at 2:42 Thursday morning.  

'Crews arrived and found heavy smoke in the sanctuary area,' Chief Rhodes explained.

But, the fire started in the basement in a heating unit.  Chief Rhodes urged residents and business owners to be vigilant every winter.

'Every year, you should have them checked and inspected,' Rhodes said.  'Check the furnaces.  Make sure they`re clean, the fire box is not cracked.  Make sure the carbon monoxide is not being given off by the appliance.  It`s just good maintenance, good practice, to check your furnaces every year.'

But Rhodes said the electrical system feeding the furnace simply broke down and caught fire.   He said there was nothing church maintenance could do to prevent this.  

Crews knocked down the fire in about 30 minutes.  Some might wonder how firefighters fared in the below-freezing pre-dawn air.

"Firefighters do not get cold,' Chief Rhodes laughed. 'We're firefighters.  We got this."

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