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Historic Peoria church demolished after building collapse

Courtesy Denise Jackson

A historic church on Peoria's South Side was demolished for safety reasons on Saturday after sustaining a major collapse.

Peoria Fire Department battalion chief Scott Strum said firefighters responded to United Fellowship Ministries, 231 S. Saratoga, just after 7:45 a.m. on a report of a roof collapse.

Firefighters on scene reported the roof and side walls of the church had fallen in. Firefighters reported a natural gas odor, electric power lines arcing, and power poles down.

Nobody was in the church when the building collapsed.

Nearby houses were evacuated. A city building inspector ordered an emergency demolition. An engine company and truck company used an aerial master stream to control dust as the rest of the building was torn down.

Strum said damages to the building and its contents likely exceeds $1.5 million. The cause of the collapse wasn't immediately clear.

The church was the former St. Patrick's Catholic Church. The future Archbishop Fulton Sheen was assigned to the parish as a young priest.

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Tim is the News Director at WCBU Peoria Public Radio.