By Marissa Perlman

LODI (CBS13) – Tragedy struck a Lodi church on Easter Sunday as a fire broke out in the early morning destroying the building.

Heavy smoke and fire consumed and were seen from outside the El Shaddai Church of God and Christ, which is located in a strip mall along Cherokee Lane. The Lodi Fire Department says the flames “ate the building up” shortly after 5 a.m. The entire roof of the building collapsed and fell to the ground.

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Lingering hot spots continued to pop into the evening hours. The church’s pastor said the congregation had moved into this space less than two months ago. They had renovated the building’s interior and were planning a celebratory easter egg hunt and service Sunday afternoon.

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Fire crews say it is a miracle they managed to save the other half of the strip mall. Most of the businesses in the space were closed Sunday except for Wild Chinese Buffet. Owner Jason Kwong said it’s a blessing he’s still in business.

“This morning when I come in a lot of fire trucks were here in the parking lot,” Kwong said.

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Investigators say it’ll be a while before they find out what caused this fire. The damage made it difficult for investigators to get inside the building.

Marissa Perlman