KC church loses playground equipment in fire, but passion to help others still burns

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KANSAS CITY, Mo -- A metro church is out thousands of dollars after a fire started right outside its doors.

Grace Church of the Nazarene, near Spruce and Independence avenues, is now without a playground. But the senior pastor said if it weren't for Kansas City fire crews' quick reaction, it could have been a lot worse.

"You know, another five minutes of delay, and it could have been a disaster," Senior Pastor Tammy Carter said.

Now melted to green lava and burned to ashes, the play equipment that was donated a decade ago is gone.

"Seems to me that someone was possibly sleeping in the play structure," Carter said. "We've got a big round part that was kind of a sheltered area from the wind and the cold, and then maybe they started a little fire to stay warm and it just got out of hand."

Kansas City police say a traffic officer working Independence Avenue spotted smoke Tuesday afternoon and called in KCFD.

They got the fire out and called in bomb and arson to investigate. KCFD said the cause is undetermined, which means they haven't figure out how the fire started.

"It's discouraging," Carter said, "the series of break-ins and then this."

Carter said they've had four break-ins in the last few months, costing them $10,000.

This fire caused about a $1,000 in damages to the upper roof and overhang. Plus, the loss of the playset.

"It has been played in tons. It has been an amazing piece to have," Carter said.

No matter the trouble they've seen at this location over the last 100 years, she wants her congregation to know this is part of their mission.

"You see lives being changed and the neighborhood being changed in positive ways," Carter said. "That's what we want to do, is we want to be a part of changing lives that then change the neighborhood."

She chooses to look at the bright side of the situation and encourages others to do the same.

"Whoever was in, who started got out safely so and the building's not hurt," Carter said. "So that's a blessing."

If you would like to help Grace Church, Carter said they're always taking donations. Visit the website here.

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