Tree friction with power lines spark fire that gets close to church in Golden Gate Estates

Reporter: Gina Tomlinson Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Greater Naples firefighters respond to a fire at the property of Golden Gate Assembly of God church in Golden Gate Estates Wednesday, June 2, 2021. There were no injuries or damages to property due to the flames. Friction from palm trees close to power lines sparked flames on the property. Credit: WINK News.

A storm pushed trees too close to a power line Wednesday and sparked a fire near Golden Gate Assembly of God church in Golden Gate Estates.

“We had some of the staff call in and say, ‘I heard the church was on fire,’” explained Senior Pastor Bill Reese.

Thankfully, Reese and others who belong to the church were safe. The church was also safe, but flames came within inches of an outdoor shelter on the property.

“It is a part of the facility that we don’t want to lose,” Reese said.

“I’d be really hurt,” Mattie Hilmer said.

“It’s been here for, I remember, 20 years ago,” Reese said.

“It looked like you couldn’t even see the building,” Hilmer said. “There was like a lot of smoke.”

Greater Naples Fire Rescue District’s chief says the friction between the power line and the trees caused the flames.

“Good thing we have the rain,” Hilmer said.

The quick help of emergency crews was another blessing, saving the church from any damage and restoring power

“Got it back in service and got us back ready for Wednesday night church,” Reese said.

The fire chief says fires caused by friction from power lines and trees rubbing together are a common scenario He says, especially with wind and storms, people need to make sure their palm trees are trimmed and urges people not to do it themselves but hire a professional.

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