Loving Missionary Baptist Church in Dallas burns down

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Investigators are working to determine what caused a neighborhood church in Oak Cliff to burn down early Sunday morning.

According to fire officials on scene, crews responded to a fire at the Loving Missionary Baptist Church just after 4:30 a.m., and quickly started battling the fire after finding the building fully engulfed in flames.

"Within 15 minutes, it spread to the whole roof and it was hot, very hot," said Reggie Roberts, who lives nearby. 

Firefighters used both hand lines and an aerial truck to fight the fire, but the entire building was destroyed.

On a day where churchgoers would typically be attending Sunday services, all that's left of Loving Missionary Baptist Church is the sign out front.

The building is now reduced to rubble after an early morning fire started on South Denley Dr. while many neighbors were still sleeping.

"Gentleman walking down the street came banging on the door, talking about we need to hurry up and get out, there was a fire next door, which was the church," Roberts added.

"My neighbors live upstairs, they knocked on my door to wake me up because the fire was so big, something I've never seen," said Jose Silba, who lives nearby.

Neighbors say it didn't take long for the fire to spread through the roof, fully engulfing the church by the time firefighters arrived.

"When we first came out, just the front of the church was on fire and like a 20-foot blaze," Roberts said.

Those who live near the church were worried the fire might spread to their homes.

"Very worried thinking it could spread and we could lose everything," Roberts said. "We could've lost our lives if we had not woken up."

Dallas Fire-Rescue is investigating the cause of the fire, but investigators believe it may have been burning inside for some time before anyone noticed the flames.

Fire officials say it took crews about an hour to put out the fire. They used an aerial truck and attacked it outside from all angles, but by then, the entire church was destroyed.

"Seen the members come in here so I know they'll be traumatized by it, and on Mother's Day on top of that," Roberts added.

There was no one inside the church at the time of the fire and no reported injuries.

Neighbors say though the church is gone, they're grateful the damage didn't spread to others.

"Thank you Jesus they did come by and stop and let us know," Roberts said. "Cause like I said, we were asleep, so it could've went farther than that."

Due to the heavy damage, machinery was brought in to knock down the rest of the building.