Six-Alarm Fire Destroys 128-Year-Old East Village Church


A six-alarm fire tore through a historic, 128-year-old Reformed church in the East Village early Saturday morning.

Firefighters rushed 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. A total of nearly 200 firefighters from 44 units had converged on the scene.

Crews battled the large blaze under a steady rain, with fire trucks extending to the top of the church, with water hoses cutting through the church’s steeple. FDNY said four firefighters were injured battling the blaze. No civilians have been reported injured.

“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.

“Our units arrived in three minutes, very fast response time. Upon arrival we had heavy fire showing from the corner…

Posted by New York City Fire Department (FDNY) on Saturday, December 5, 2020

As the fire raged, Rev. Jacqui Lewis, senior pastor of the church, wrote on Twitter that the congregation is “devastated and crushed that our beloved sanctuary at Middle Collegiate Church has burned.”

She added, “And yet no fire can stop Revolutionary Love.”

Amanda Ashcraft, a minister of the church, told WABC-TV that God is weeping right now.

“I know in moments like this, especially in a year where we’ve seen so much racial and economic injustice, compounded with the global pandemic, people have been asking where’s God and why God,” Ashcraft said. “And this is not anything that makes God happy, not part of God’s plan. And God will be right here with us as we rebuild from this moment.”

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