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Historic Minneapolis Church Gutted By Fire

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) -- A historic church in south Minneapolis has been destroyed by fire, and five firefighters were injured while battling the blaze.

The Walker Community United Methodist Church went up in flames Sunday evening. Due to the intensity of the fire, the building's structural integrity was severely compromise, so the building is being torn down.

According to Minneapolis police spokesman Sgt. Bill Palmer, four of the five injured firefighters were in the hospital Sunday evening with thermal injuries. Three have since been released with first-degree burns to their hands. Two firefighters remain at HCMC with first- and second-degree burns to their hands that will require additional treatment.

WCCO talked with a few church members about the fire, which left the building of worship completely gutted.

"We've gone to this church before we even moved into our house," said Autumn Cordes-Eklund. "That's the saddest thing, because the Walker community was just such a strong thing and now we don't know what's going to happen."

The church is in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood of south Minneapolis. It had about 150 members.

The church began in 1886 about two blocks from its current location. As the area grew, the congregation began looking for a new home. The members opened the current building in 1910.

"This is where we come together and build on," said church trustee Ed Edmueller. "The building was a large part of it, but that's not going to stop us from having another building or continuing on."

Deputy fire chief Todd Steinhilber says the cause is still under investigation.

The church is located at 16th Avenue South and 31st Street East in Minneapolis.

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