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Cause of South Side Peoria church collapse still unknown

Courtesy Denise Jackson

Peoria Fire Chief Shawn Sollberger says the cause of the collapse of a historic church on Peoria’s South Side is still unknown.

The Peoria Fire Department responded to United Fellowship Ministries, 231 S. Saratoga St., just after 7:45 a.m. Sunday for a report of a collapsed roof.

“We're just fortunate that nobody was in the building,” Sollberger said.

Structural engineers and fire investigators are still working to come to a conclusion about the cause of the collapse. Sollberger said there’s no evidence of foul play and no obvious contributing factors.

“From the tenants that had spoke to us, they hadn't had any problems,” he said. “They just replaced a roof, you know, two years prior. So to us, it's almost turning into some freaky, rare occurrence, or the structural instability just had gone unfounded.”

The damage to the church is estimated at more than $1.5 million.

Collin Schopp is a reporter at WCBU. He joined the station in 2022.