“I’m absolutely devastated,” said Amanda Aschcraft, the church’s executive minister. “I’m heartbroken … God is right here weeping with us. This is a year that has already seen so much racial and economic injustice, compounded with a global pandemic. This just feels like another horrible blow in a horrific year.”
Firefighters are working to save a historic 19th century church in New York that has been engulfed by flames, according to reports.
The Middle Collegiate Church, in Manhattan’s East Village, caught fire on Saturday morning after flames spread from a nearby apartment building.
Nearly 200 firefighters from 44 units converged to Middle Collegiate Church on East 7th Street and Second Avenue following reports of a fire at an empty, nearby building, 48 East 7th Street, that began just before 5 a.m, FDNY told Gothamist. The fire soon spread to the church, triggering more alarms.
“We are going to be operating here for a while. The fire is under investigation by our marshals,” FDNY Assistant Chief John Hodgens said from the scene of the fire, according to a post on the FDNY’s Facebook page.
The apartment was vacant when the fire broke out at around 5am, and reached the church not long afterwards, according to witnesses.
The church roof was reportedly engulfed in flames an hour later, ABC New York reported.
Some 200 firefighters from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) were said to have attended the fire, amid an effort to save the church.
In a short statement, the FDNY said “FDNY members are operating on scene of a 5-alarm fire at 48 East 7th Street in Manhattan.”
The department shared photos of the efforts, which have continued almost four hours after the fire started.
Images appeared to show the churches’ stained glass window not to be intact, following the fire.
The church, which was built around 1891, is co-affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the Reformed Church in America, according to its website.