Fire officials west of Edmonton are investigating the cause of a fire that forced the demolition of the Stony Plain Alliance Church Family Centre Sunday.

Officials said the fire started at about 2:25 p.m. Sunday in the basement of the Stony Plain Alliance Church Family Centre building. There were people inside, but all managed to escape unharmed. Firefighters from the Stony Plain Fire Department were on scene within 10 minutes of the fire starting.

Crews from Stony Plain, Spruce Grove and Parkland County fire departments fought the fire into Sunday evening, and were able to contain the blaze to the one building.

Later on, crews decided to knock down the building in an effort to save other nearby buildings.

“Unfortunately, the Family Centre has been completely destroyed,” Deputy Fire Chief Bert Lubbers said in a news release. “At one point it was hoped that we could save the offices but that did not happen. However, crews were successful in saving the Church itself which is separated by a parking lot, and all the surrounding homes.”

Lubbers said the fire was “extremely stubborn” but said weather conditions helped crews gain the upper hand.

At one point, officials said there were about 55 firefighters working on the blaze.

As for the church, Senior Pastor Graham English said the loss of the building won’t result in the loss of the church.

“The church is more than a building, it’s the people,” English said. “So I know that our people are going to pull together and rally together.”

The church was founded in 1938, with the first church building constructed on that site in the 1940s.

Despite the fire, officials said Christmas Services will take place in the church building, as planned. Services will be held Saturday, December 24 at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.