Durban - A massive fire gutted the Durban Christian Centre in Mayville, KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday night. No injuries were reported.
Eyewitnesses reported hearing a large explosion followed by a thick cloud of smoke at the complex, which is next to the M3 highway. Fire then consumed the centre, including one of the largest churches in Durban: a 5 500-seat auditorium known as the Jesus Dome.
ER24 said the cause of the fire was unknown.
“Fire fighters are dousing a fire that erupted at a building in Garth Road in Mayville, Durban.
"When paramedics arrived on scene they found the roof and part of the building structure alight. Fortunately no injuries have been reported at this stage. The exact cause of the fire is unknown,” ER24 said on Tuesday night.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Nqobile Gwala said the police responded to the call of an explosion and were on scene along with other emergency services personnel.
“At this stage we cannot say what was the cause of the explosion and fire as the emergency teams are still battling the blaze,” said Gwala.
The Durban Christian Centre Jesus Dome describes itself on Twitter as: “A House of Prayer for all nations. A place where miracles happen. A family you can belong to. Big enough to reach you, but small enough to care!”
The ground in Mayville was purchased by the church in 1992.
Construction commenced in 1997 on the Jesus Dome, which was completed and opened in 1999. The auditorium was subsequently fitted out with giant screens and a stage.
The DCC and pastor John Torrens were both active on social media hours before the fire, but had not spoken publicly about the incident at the time of going to print.