• Nearly 12 displaced after space heater explodes in St. Augustine church

    By: Amber Krycka , Action News Jax


    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Nearly a dozen people are without a home after a space heater exploded and caught fire at a historic building. The building is a church that houses families who are trying to get back on their feet.

    Around eight people are starting the New Year without a place to live.  

    “I’m just blessed to be alive with my mama,” says Andrew McGlocklin, pastor at Jesus is a way make a ministry.

    McGlocklin said he poured kerosene into the heater and, seconds later, it caught fire. 

    “Put the cap on and turned around, and then it just exploded. The fire went everywhere,” he said. 

    McGlocklin said he and his mother, who uses a wheelchair, were surrounded by smoke and fire. 

    “It was all over me and her, and I did all I could to get out (of) there,” he said. 

    McGlocklin said that, for a second, he thought they wouldn't make it.  “I felt like it was the end,” he added. 

    “I seen this big ol’ giant great ball of black smoke coming out of it,” said Carolyn Shorter, a pastor who ran to each apartment and made sure everyone got out. 

    “I was telling them to get out, the house is on fire,” she said. 

    Everyone, including McGlocklin and his mother did get out. While they only have the clothes on their backs, they feel grateful.

    “This will be a New Years (Day) that we will never forget. But I just thank God that he allowed us to live,” Shorter said. 

    “These heaters when you think they’re cool, be very careful to bring them outside the door, not like I did. Make sure they’re secure from everybody else before they put any kerosene in,” McGlocklin said. 

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