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First Major Fire of the Year Severely Damages Church in Oxon Hill

The fire in Prince George's County left a house of worship in ashes.

Although parishoners celebrated 2013 in the church only hours before it lit up in flames, an Oxon Hill church will not be hosting a service in 2013 yet.

At about 7:30 a.m. on New Year's Day, Prince George's County firefighters were called out to First Wesleyan Church of Oxon Hill at 1801 Iverson Street when reports came in that the one-story structure was ablaze, according to PGFD Spokesman Mark Brady. 

Two areas inside were burning, Brady said, and had reached the roof before firefighters could control the flames 25 minutes later. However, no firefighters or civilians were injured in the fire.

The church "suffered considerable damage," Brady said Tuesday. Initial fire loss is estimated at more than $100,000, and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is notified by Fire Investigators after any fire at a house of worship, he said, and it's possible ATF officials will join county fire investigators to determine the cause and origin of the fire. 

Fire investigators, however, do not believe the fire is suspicious, Brady added.

At 10 p.m. on New Year's Eve, church members gathered inside for a service. Midway through the service the neighborhood experienced a power outage. Members concluded their service and left the building before power was restored, according to fire officials.

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