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Fire Destroys Riverside County Church; Investigation Underway

HOMELAND ( — Authorities Sunday were investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a church Saturday night in Riverside County.

The fire was reported at around 8 p.m. Saturday at the Community First Church of God  in the 31400 block of Highway 74 in Homeland.

It took a crew of about 45 firefighters two hours to fully extinguish the flames at the 5,000 square foot church. Highway 74 was closed in both directors for about an hour and-a-half.

No injuries were reported.

"We have a great group, so I'm just praying. We're all praying." Church member Beverly Anderson said.

Anderson went to the scene to check out the damage on a day where she was normally going to attend services at the building.

"When I got the call, he says we won't be having Church for quite some time. The Church burned down. I was in shock," Anderson added.

The Church has been practicing for over three decades now.

The roof is completely destroyed and water is still dripping from the effort to put the flames out.

"It's a total loss," Pastor Mike Gratzke said, who, instead of preaching, spent Sunday talking with investigators about how the fire may have started.

While services were cancelled today, they are scheduled to be held next Sunday.

The Church is insured and members are hopeful that the rebuilding effort can begin soon.

Investigators were on the scene Sunday morning trying to figure out how the fire started.

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