SUFFOLK, Va. — One person was injured in a two-alarm fire that ripped through a church building in Suffolk early New Year's morning.
Suffolk Fire and Rescue crews responded to a fire at the New Jerusalem Church Ministry in the 400 block of East Pinner Street just before 4:20 a.m. Sunday.
When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke was coming from the back of the two-story church's second floor.
Two men were inside the building when the fire started, but they managed to escape and one of them called 911.
Pastor Leslie Harper told WTKR that he was helping out the two men by letting them stay in the building.
"Men that are homeless, I help them if I can. So there were two back there," Harper explained.
One of the men was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. His injuries are considered non-life-threatening. The American Red Cross is supporting the men who were living there.
Firefighters marked the fire, which remains under investigation, under control shortly after 5 a.m.
Harper said that while the church normally has Sunday service at noon, he did not yet know the extent of the damage. However, he said he was hopeful parishioners could worship at their church again soon.