Huge blaze guts historic New York City church built back in 1891 – as nearly 200 firefighters try to save the structure from complete collapse
- Middle Collegiate Church in Manhattan’s East Village has been gutted by a huge fire
- Blaze began in neighboring building before it spread to the historic church
- The fire also spread to an apartment building, but all occupants were able to safely escape
- Almost 200 firefighters from 44 units worked to extinguish the blaze; four first responders reportedly suffered minor injuries
- The cause of the fire is still being investigated
A huge fire has erupted in Manhattan’s East Village, completely gutting the historic Middle Collegiate Church.
The blaze began inside a vacant five-story building on East 7th Street just before dawn on Saturday, before flames spread to the neighboring house of worship, which was built back in 1891.
Dozens of firefighters descended on the scene in a bid to save the structure, but its inside has been destroyed. Four firefighters are reported to have sustained minor injuries while trying to douse the inferno.
Crews are still working to save the steeple of the church, according to ABC-7, but a commanding officer told New York state Senator Bard Hoylman that the structure may not stand.
Middle Collegiate is a Protestant church with around 1,300 congregants.
Minister Amanda Ashcraft told ABC-7 that the sanctuary inside the church is ‘not in good shape’ and that ‘beautiful Tiffany stain glass windows have been destroyed’.
‘This is a horribly sad day for our congregation and for this neighborhood,’ she stated.
Investigators are still on the scene tried to determine what sparked the blaze.
A huge fire has erupted in Manhattan’s East Village, completely gutting the historic Middle Collegiate Church
The roof of the church has been destroyed, but firefighters are trying to save its steeple
The inside of the historic structure was completely gutted by fire
The blaze began inside a vacant five-story building on East 7th Street (left) before flames spread to the neighboring house of worship, which was built back in 1891
More than 200 firefighters from 44 units worked for hours trying to contain the blaze
According to ABC-7, the five-story building where the blaze began has been empty since February due to another fire, which was determined to be accidental.
Meanwhile, flames from Saturday morning’s blaze also spread to a third building – an apartment block where people were sleeping.
Thankfully, all the occupants managed to escape without injury.
One occupant of that building told ABC-7: ‘I opened the door to my room, I’m on the top floor too so I didn’t know where the fire was coming from, smoke all in the stairwells, hallways and I was like we gotta get out, we gotta get out.
‘So we started running down the stairs and firefighters were coming up … luckily, our whole building got out first.”