Fire Rips Through Historic Queens Church
12/27/2007 08:29 AM
A late-night fire ripped through a historic church in Queens Thursday.
Copyright © 2008 NY1 News
Firefighters were called to St. Paul's Episcopal Church on 61st Street and 39th Avenue in Woodside just before midnight. It took firefighters about an hour to bring the flames under control.
"As soon as I got out, I just ran and just broke down when I saw that it was actually the church going up in smoke," said Arpana Manuel, the reverend's daughter, who lives across the street from the church.
"Upon arrival at this fire at the church behind me, we had a heavy body of fire throughout the church," said FDNY Deputy Chief Jon Malkin. "We started with an interior attack and we tried to knock the fire down with hand lines. We made a complete search. There was nobody in the church and the fire is now under control."
The building suffered major damage, but the Reverend Anadeskar Manuel says he hopes to be able to hold New Year's Eve services there.
"It's unbelievable this church is more than 100 years old, and the church is in flames and my heart broke down," said the reverend.
Church members say parts of the church, like a destroyed stained glass window, cannot be replaced.
"That's not replaceable," said parishioner Kumar Singh. "It's been over 100 years so you wouldn't get this type of stained glass again."
But church members say they are glad that only property that was lost.
"We thank God there were no human casualties," said the reverend's daughter. "We know it could have been worse."
St. Paul's is the oldest church in Woodside. It was built in 1874 and offers services in both English and Hindi.
Authorities are still investigating the cause of the blaze.