Port Huron church destroyed by fire Tuesday night
Pastor Kim Brown said no one was inside Zion Cathedral of Praise early Tuesday evening when a fire broke out, leaving the building on the south side of Port Huron a total loss.
More than two hours after fire crews from four departments arrived, she sat nearby, surrounded by a group of supporters – all praising God with gratitude.
“We were here, we went out to eat, and when we went out to eat, whatever happened happened next,” Brown said. “Thank you, Jesus, there was no one in the church.”
Port Huron Fire Battalion Chief James Hayes said the fire was reported around 6:15 p.m. at the church, located at the corner of Moak and 30th streets.
While the fire was brought under control in 30 to 45 minutes, he said, water was still sprayed on the building shortly before 9 p.m. to control hot spots.
Hayes said part of the church was completely engulfed in flames when they arrived. The origin of the fire has not been elucidated and the investigation was still ongoing on Tuesday evening. No injuries were reported.
“You could see everything through the eaves, and it started coming up through the vents in the roof,” Hayes said. “They grabbed some handlines, set up the antenna and started spraying, and all the other crews arrived.”
In addition to Port Huron, firefighters from the township of Port Huron, Marysville and Fort Gratiot helped fight the blaze.
A staple of advocacy and the local black community, Zion has a history that spans more than eight decades.
In 2020, Brown told The Times Herald that she began serving there as an assistant pastor nearly two decades prior and served as senior pastor for about 10 years. The church had drawn his family from Detroit to Port Huron – much like that of Zion’s founding pastor, Irene Woods.
A portrait of the church’s five senior senior pastors in its history last stood at the entrance to the sanctuary, and Brown said it was rescued by firefighters on Tuesday. Just like a picture of Martin Luther King.
The building destroyed in Tuesday’s fire was erected in the early 2000s, replacing a previous location at 24th and Moak streets.
In addition to church activities, St. Clair County Organizing for Regional Equity, or SCCORE, also operated out of Zion. Brown is the director of the group, which works with young people.
Although children normally leave in the summer at 3 p.m., the participating children were on the field trip on Tuesday, Brown said.
Several supporters by his side Tuesday night mirrored the arrival of other pastors and members of the local faith community to check on Brown and the church after the fire. A friend added: “We just hope that the community will continue to put their arms around him so that we can rebuild this church.
Brown, who planned to return to collect her cellphone, said she was unsure of the next steps.
They had yet to determine where SCCORE would be hosted. But on Sunday they planned to hold church services at 11.30am on the grass outside.
“We will be here. Give praise to God,” Brown said.
“I’m going to do what I always do, and that’s praise my God through every situation, and I’m going to trust for the next steps and what we need to do to make sure our church family is healed and that we are moving forward,” she added. “We are grateful for the love of our fellow pastors and those around us.
Contact Jackie Smith at (810) 989-6270 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @Jackie20Smith.