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Community gets update from fire chief, mayor and pastor in wake of First Bossier fire

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Pictured left to right: Mayor Lo Walker, Chief Brad Zagone, Pastor Brad Jurkovich. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

Last night hundreds of members of First Bossier packed into the Bossier Civic Center to receive an update after a massive fire ripped through several of the church’s buildings on Monday.

It was standing room only inside the Bossier Civic Center as parishioners united together to sing and pray. Community members heard from Pastor Brad Jurkovich, Bossier City Fire Chief Brad Zagone, and Bossier City Mayor Lo Walker.

“This is a big deal, and we just need to understand the gravity of what we’ve experienced,” Jurkovich said.

A total of 30 units from both Bossier City and Shreveport fire departments battled to extinguish the flames and hot spots throughout Monday and into Tuesday morning.

Zagone said Monday’s fire was the worst he has seen in his 25 years with the Bossier City Fire Department.

“Firefighters gave it all they had,” Zagone said.

Based on fire patterns at the scene, investigators determined that the fire was caused by an uninterruptible power supply/battery backup and began in an office space near Faith Chapel, the church’s original sanctuary, before spreading to the attic and other buildings on the property.

The first alarm went up at 5:30 a.m. Monday morning. The fire was contained to the eastern portion of the property, but several buildings including Faith Chapel and a daycare wing sustained heavy damage.

Zagone said power has been restored to the main building and there will be a service on Sunday.

Mayor Walker who was on scene at Monday morning’s fire and spoke to community members who attended Wednesday night’s community update meeting.

First Bossier Pastor Brad Jurkovich reads from the Bible during a community meeting at the Bossier Civic Center Wednesday night. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

“First Bossier is a very special place, and even though this has been a horrific event, the leadership and the membership of this church are going to make the decisions to build it back, and build it bigger and better,” Walker said.

Jurkovich said people have asked him how he can be so calm during this crisis.

“No loss of life is huge,” he said. “We just thank God for his grace. Buildings can be rebuilt; lives are forever. We just need to understand that.”

He told the crowd it was okay to be sad about the loss, but reminded them they will get through it together.

“We’re gonna turnout together, be strong together, and our community’s been incredible,” Jurkovich said.

There were only two injuries reported in relation to the fire, a firefighter who was treated for a laceration to his hand and returned to work, and another firefighter who fell and suffered an injury to his arm.

The Bossier City Police Department, Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal, Louisiana State Police, Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Federal Bureau of Investigation also responded to the scene.