PHOTOS: Historic Englewood church burns on Good Friday

The fire department determined a propane torch being used for roof repairs caused the fire. (Braeden Coon/Medill)

By Braeden Coon
Medill Reports

On Good Friday, Chicago fire crews battled the blaze at the historic Antioch Baptist Church in Englewood. Fire stations from across Chicago were deployed to fight the fire.

“This is a true tragedy,” said Donald Walker, assistant deputy fire commissioner. “But we did our best to do what we could do.”

Firefighters were called back to the Antioch Baptist Church the next morning, on April 16, as the building reignited. The congregation held Easter service at a local funeral home and plan to rebuild in the near future.


Chicago firemen operate the apparatus connected to the truck, while their colleagues spray the fire from above. Donald Walker, assistant deputy fire commissioner, said they had more than 50 apparatuses on site. (Braeden Coon/Medill)


A Chicago fire commander relays instructions to his crew members. The Chicago Fire Department deployed more than 180 firefighters to the scene, Walker said. (Braeden Coon/Medill)


Walker looks over the scene of reporters, firefighters and community members while crews battle the flames. (Braeden Coon/Medill)


Crew members from Chicago Fire Department Station 54 observe their station’s apparatus lift into the air. Other members of Station 54 helped prepare hoses and other stations’ apparatuses. (Braeden Coon/Medill)


Community members gather to provide support for one another during the fire. Friends of the Rev. Gerald Dew, pastor of Antioch Baptist Church, gathered from various parts of the city. (Braeden Coon/Medill)


Dew and community members speak with safety inspectors and firefighters to determine a plan of action for the surrounding areas. Houses, a school and a hospital are across the street from the blaze. (Braeden Coon/Medill)


A firefighter looks on from the driver’s seat of an emergency vehicle as his colleague speaks to him. (Braeden Coon/Medill)


Broken stained glass hangs from its frame while crews spray water around the building. “My heart just breaks to see the church in ruins right now,” said Lynda Rogers, a former member of the church who grew up in the community. The church was a light in the community that already suffers greatly, she said. (Braeden Coon/Medill)


As crews prepare to leave the scene, they leave behind uncapped fire hydrants surrounded by ashes and debris. (Braeden Coon/Medill)


Braeden Coon is a Magazine graduate student at Medill. You can follow him on Twitter at @CoonBraeden.