OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A prominent West Oakland church was “pretty much a total loss” after a three-alarm fire Monday afternoon, a fire battalion chief said.

The fire at the Zion First Church of God in Christ at the corner of Eighth and Center streets was reported at 2:48 p.m., Battalion Chief Lisa Baker said.

The fire spread thick black smoke throughout the neighborhood and a column of smoke could be seen from the platform of the nearby West Oakland BART station.

Firefighters stripped ventilation holes in the roof so they could attack the fire from inside, but the large amount of timber in the church made the fire burn fast and hot, Baker said.

Firefighters managed to control the fire about 45 minutes later but not before it had caused $900,000 in damage to the church, Baker said.

One firefighter suffered a minor injury and was treated by paramedics at the scene, Baker said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation but Baker said it is not considered suspicious at this point.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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