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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2007, 18:16 GMT 19:16 UK
Fire destroys 150-year-old church
St Barnabas Church after the fire
The church lost its roof in the fire
A church due to celebrate its 150th anniversary has been destroyed by fire.

The roof of St Barnabas church, in High Street, Erdington, Birmingham, was ruined when the fire, thought to be arson, broke out early on Thursday.

About 75 firefighters tackled the blaze. The church's anniversary was due to be held in April 2008.

Fire crews are damping down and an investigation has begun. The Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Rev David Urquhart described the fire as "devastating".

He added: "The whole building, apart from the tower, has gone.

"It was a truly wonderful place. Clearly we expect to talk to our insurers and they will give us a full report, but there will also be an opportunity for the church and the community to pull together and ensure St Barnabas will rise from the ashes."

Parts of High Street and Church Road have been cordoned off.

Crews were called to the scene just before 0600 BST on Thursday. Smoke from the fire could be seen across parts of the city and by motorists on the M6.



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The fire may have been started deliberately



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