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, 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. The congregation is one of the oldest in the city, and the church housed the state’s Liberty Bell.
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.