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Crews battle stubborn fire at Ballard church

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SEATTLE - An early morning fire at a Ballard church is out - but still causing problems for firefighters as crews deal with flare-ups in the walls of the older building.

Firefighters initially responded to the blaze, at St. Paul's United Church-Christ at 6512 12th Avenue NW, at about 3 a.m. after an alarm went off. Neighbors also called 911 when they saw smoke pouring out of the church.

A lot of engines showed up because crews were first told someone may have been inside the building, but they didn't find anyone when they arrived.

Firefighters got the blaze in the boiler room under control, but then it started to flare up in the walls - and even threatened the sanctuary. So crews started going room to room, making sure all of the embers are out.

A preliminary investigation found that the fire started in the boiler room in the basement, which is also used as a storage space.

Crews are trying keep everything intact there so investigators can pinpoint the source of the fire, but they also say they might have to pull some materials out to make sure nothing is still smoldering.

Neighbors say they're glad that fire crews were able to stop the fire from spreading.

"That's a place of hope for our community," said one neighbor, Adam Critzer. "Even if you aren't involved in that church, it's still a place of hope."

Investigators have been probing through the church since about 4 a.m. So far they say nothing about the fire is suspicious, but it created a lot of smoke. The church is saturated with it, and it will take some time to clean up.

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