A fire in the early morning hours Tuesday led to severe traffic congestion on Canal Road, bringing cars to a standstill for hours.
Interim fire chief Justin Pearce said the gridlock was because of the location of the fire hydrant on the south side of Canal Road.
“We had to lay one of our big, five-inch lines across the road,” Pearce said. “That’s why we had to shut that road down for about two hours.”
Pearce said the fire department got the call about the fire at approximately 5:20 a.m and saw smoke coming from the attic of the structure with no visible fire from the outside.
“They proceeded to do an interior attack and try to put out the fire from the inside,” Pearce said. “The smoke and heat was so thick and dense and high that they were not able to stay inside. They transitioned to a defensive attack to get the fire under control, and they were able to gain access to the structure again.”
Pearce said the majority of the damage was confined to the sanctuary itself, with the offices and classrooms receiving some smoke and water damage.
The state fire marshal, ATF and Orange Beach are all investigating the cause and origin of the fire and are all still onsite currently performing that task.
Escambia County in Florida, Gulf Shores and Foley all had units to respond to the scene, as well.
Pearce said there were no civilian or fire service injuries and the building was unoccupied at the time of the blaze.