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Two firefighters missing, 29 hurt in church blaze


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Pennsylvania

(CNN) -- Two firefighters are missing and another 29 were injured after the bell tower of a historic Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, church collapsed as they battled a Saturday morning blaze, fire and church officials said.

The fire that destroyed the 131-year-old Ebenezer Baptist Church was apparently ignited by an electrical problem, just as church members prepared for a Saturday morning prayer breakfast, according to Ebenezer's pastor, J. Van Alfred Winsett.

Winsett said he had been told at least four of the firefighters were seriously injured.

Rescue crews were searching the rubble of the church's sanctuary Saturday afternoon for the two firefighters, Winsett said. There is little hope of finding them alive, he said.

Pittsburgh Fire Chief Peter Micheli said few details would be released until an investigation was conducted, although he confirmed at least 31 firefighters were injured. Several of the injuries were minor, but some were serious, Micheli said.

The church was built in 1873 for a Presbyterian congregation but became Ebenezer Baptist Church in 1906 when it was was sold to that congregation, Winsett said.

There are 2,500 members in his congregation, Winsett said.


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