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MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – Fire investigators are looking into what started a major fire today at a church in Miami Gardens.

The four-alarm fire took hours to put out.

There are concerns the Greater New Bethel Baptist Church may be destroyed.

Firefighters attacked from above and below as smoke filled the sky.

The fire broke out around 2:30 p.m.

Church staff and children were inside the attached child care center. Mark Neptune raced to the church concerned about his two and half year old.

“Walking up seeing the flame my heart was racing a little bit,” Neptune said. “But I know they have a good system and they put everyone in the back room away from everything. So everyone is safe.”

Everyone making it out safely, as nearly 50 fire crews were called to battle the fire.

An unusual four-alarm fire.  Lieutenant Kirsten Miller with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said it was a difficult fire from the start.

“It started on the roof,” she said. “My understanding is there was some roof repair is going on. And somehow a fire was ignited on the roof.  And it’s trapped between several layers of the roof and that’s what’s making it very difficult for firefighters to stop the fire.”

Crews worked to try to get to the flames for two hours before eventually cutting holes in the roof to get to the fire.  After four hours Miami-Dade Fire finally had it completely out.

As to what started it is unclear.  But investigators are looking into Aegis Roofing who was working on the church when the fire started.

CBS4 caught up with Aegis Roofer workers at the church.  Fabian Watson told us they were doing general maintenance at the time.

“Firefighters were called. We were working. Firefighters were called. That’s it. We don’t know what’s going on.” Watson said.

Investigators are expected to be out at the church Wednesday to take a closer look at what led to all of this.


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