By Angela Musallam

CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) — A courageous young man from Roseville saves a church building from burning down. The act of heroism took place last Wednesday afternoon, at the Advent Lutheran Church in Citrus Heights.

CJ Sparks, 20, says he helped put the fire out before firefighters even arrived.

There was some damage from the fire to the exterior of the church’s food pantry.

“We noticed there was black smoke and as we got closer we saw all the flames,” said CJ Sparks.

CJ sprang into action and turned his car around. He was determined to save the Advent Lutheran Church from burning down.

“The side of the building was up in flames and all the little pallets were on fire as well,” CJ added.

Realizing no one else was trying to put out the fire, CJ made his way into the building and took several fire extinguishers, which he used to put out the fire.

“Some lady brought a hose and we hosed down the rest,” said CJ.

It was a heart-pounding 15 minutes for CJ, who says firefighters didn’t arrive until most the flames were already put out.

“It was crazy, but honestly it was kind of fun.”

CJ’s act of bravery did not go unnoticed at the church.

“That was a God moment,” said Cindy Beck, the interim pastor.

Pastor Beck says she’s thankful a good Samaritan like CJ was courageous enough to step up.

“I’m so relieved that the damage is as minimal as it is,” said Pastor Beck.

If CJ didn’t put out the fire, she says the flames could have gotten inside the church building and destroyed weeks of food the church hands out to the needy.

“We serve hundreds a week and thousands a month,” said Pastor Beck.

A case of perfect timing saving a church, and a community.

“I just felt like it was something I had to do,” said CJ.

Sacramento Metro Fire investigators say the fire was intentionally set — they do not have a suspect yet.


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