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Four people injured after a church ceiling collapses

By: Melissa Gundersen
EL PASO, Texas -- Hundreds of people were rushed out of an east El Paso church Sunday afternoon after a portion of the ceiling collapsed.

The El Paso Fire Department confirmed four people were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries after the ceiling in the lobby area of the Cielo Vista Church fell.

"It started at one end and it sounded like falling dominoes, only much, much louder and it just went down," said Pastor Mike Reidland.

Reidland said members of the congregation ran to the lobby to see what happened.

"We immediately started getting people out because you don't know what it is and we were concerned about people's safety so we started evacuating immediately," said Reidland.

Two out of the four people injured were church staff.

"One of our other pastors and our children's director was slightly injured, they've been taken to the hospital for observation," said Reidland.

Reidland said both staff members have been released from the hospital. He did not confirm whether the other two injured people were released, but said they are doing well.

Other members of the congregation said they're relieved things weren't much worse.  At the time of the collapse, staff said people were piling into the church waiting for the last service of the day to begin.

El Paso police and the fire department were on the scene for hours.
Members of the fire department told KFOX 14 they don't yet know what caused the collapse.

KFOX 14 also spoke to the city inspector's spokesperson, who said he will release updates on a cause as soon as he hears from crews.

Reidland said he's heard no updates and doesn't understand why this happened.

"That area was remodeled about -- I think it was about three years ago and we haven't had any problem," said Reidland.

Church staff was given instruction not to go inside the church until all exposed electrical wires are properly covered. Reidland expects things to be back to normal by tomorrow.
 

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