A six-alarm fire on Saturday all but destroyed a historic 120-year-old church in New York’s East Village.
The blaze also decimated an abandoned building, which was already in disrepair after a blaze earlier this year, and damaged a nearby building, according to the New York Fire Department.
The blaze started around 5 a.m. and firefighters were on the scene within three minutes, New York Deputy Fire Chief John Hodgens said.
“We had a heavy fire from the corner building,” he said in a statement shared on Instagram early Saturday. “We quickly sent additional alarms to get more help here. We knew it was going to be a big deal.
Video of the fire released shortly after the FDNY arrived showed a sea of red and orange smoke, with the church still standing but the building in front of it was set ablaze.
The fire eventually spread to Middle Collegiate Church, located just behind the building. The church, built in 1891, is a Reformed Protestant ministry that emphasizes inclusiveness and diversity. It advertises itself on its website as a place “to heal the soul and the world by dismantling racist, classist, sexist and homophobic systems of oppression.”
By late Saturday morning, New York firefighters had extinguished much of the blaze, according to local reporters at the scene.
But the wreckage was serious, to both the church and the building, Hodgens said, describing both as “total losses.” the New York Daily News reported.
At least four firefighters were injured, Hodgens said. It is still unclear what caused the first fire.
“We are devastated and crushed that our beloved physical sanctuary at Middle Collegiate Church has burned down. And yet no fire can stop revolutionary love, ”Reverend Jacqui Lewis of Middle Collegiate Church said in a statement. “We thank God that there was no loss of life.”
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