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Firefighters spent hours putting out flames inside historic Akron church dating back to the 1880s

Fire destroys historic Akron church
Fire destroys historic Akron church
Posted at 5:30 AM, Apr 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-19 18:05:38-04

An Akron church with a rich history dating back to the 1880's went up in flames Wednesday night into Thursday morning as crews worked for hours putting out the blaze.

The Akron Fire Department said a medic leaving a nearby hospital noticed smoke coming out of Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church around 11:30 p.m.

At 12:43 a.m., the fire was declared a second alarm fire, before quickly turning into a third alarm fire, according to fire officials.

Firefighters used so much water that it was pouring down the steps of the church and onto the street.

Authorities closed off Forge and Market Streets as crews continued to control the flames.

The University of Akron has owned the building since the 1950's. A few years back, UA considered tearing it down, but recently the focus had been on looking at ways to preserve it.

"Actually, we were talking about what we could do with the building to keep in tact moving forward and not abate or raze it and take it down," said Nathan Mortimer, the university's vice president of fiance.

The church once served as the University of Akron's Ballet Center, but has stood vacant for more than decade.

It's unknown what caused the fire, but investigators said it did not appear to be suspicious.