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Crews describe fight to save church from business fire

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DENHAM SPRINGS - The State Fire Marshall's Office spent Wednesday searching for the cause of a massive fire that destroyed two businesses in Denham Springs Tuesday.

For more than eight hours smoke billowed from Magnolia Respiratory and Medical Equipment and a neighboring beauty salon. After battling the blaze for about ten minutes firefighters called a "mayday" to escape from the smoke-filled building.

"You can't see this far in front of you, and you're lucky if you can see that because it's just complete black smoke and you're on your hands and knees already," said Denham Springs Fire Chief Melvin Wheat.

Firefighters crawled out the building and continued to contain the fire and keep it from destroying the church next door. New Covenant Baptist Church worker Todd McKnight witnessed the destruction of the fire first-hand.

"I have not ever seen anything quite like that. It could have been a lot worse and we were very blessed, and again thankful for just all of the work that the firemen did yesterday," he said. "There were a couple of spots and a couple of times during the fire where we almost saw the fire blowing against the building. I was definitely worried about possibly losing ours as well."

The church only suffered minor smoke and water damage that was all cleaned up Wednesday. Fire investigators believe the fire sparked in the medical supply store's heating and air conditioning system.



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