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Crews Battle 5-Alarm Fire at South Boston Church

(Courtesy: Boston Fire Dept.)

(Courtesy: Boston Fire Dept.)

BOSTON (AP) — Firefighters are tackling a five-alarm fire at a church in Boston that sent thick smoke across the city.

Deputy Chief Robert Calobrisi said the fire at St. John the Baptist Albanian Orthodox Church in South Boston was reported just after 9 a.m. Wednesday.

He says the roof was in danger of collapsing so firefighters were ordered out of the building.

Flames and thick gray smoke shot from the roof and at least six ladder trucks helped attack the flames. He estimates 80 to 90 firefighters responded.

He says it appears the fire started on or near the altar, but the exact cause remains under investigation.

Acting Chief John Hasson says three firefighters suffered injuries and the church is a total loss.