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Two firefighters die in church blaze


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Pennsylvania

(CNN) -- Two Pittsburgh firefighters died after the bell tower of a historic church collapsed on them as they battled a blaze on Saturday, fire and church officials said.

Thirty-one firefighters were injured, according to the city's fire department.

Several of the injuries were minor, but some were serious, Pittsburgh Fire Chief Peter Micheli 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, Dr. J. Van Alfred Winsett.

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.

Winsett said the church was insured and would be rebuilt on the same spot.


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