Massive Fire Engulfs Historic Church on Orthodox EasterPosted: May 2, 2016
The Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava was consecrated in 1855 as an Episcopal church called Trinity Chapel. It has been Serbian Orthodox since the 1940s.
“To see it burning like that is such a shock. It’s just so sad. I can’t think of the words to express how I’m feeling.”
“For this to happen on such a holy day, I don’t know what to say,” said Alex Velic, a 31-year-old churchgoer, as enormous fireballs erupted from the shattered windows of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava on West 25th Street.
“To see it burning like that is such a shock. It’s just so sad,” he said. “I can’t think of the words to express how I’m feeling.”
A force of 170 firefighters responded to the fire, which started shortly before 7 p.m., FDNY officials said. Church officials and the FDNY both said there were no reports of major injuries, though three firefighters and a church caretaker had minor smoke inhalation.
“Nobody is hurt, everyone is safe,” explained Father Djokan Majstorovic, dean of the cathedral.
Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said there had been 700 people inside the church earlier in the day for the Orthodox Easter service. He added that the cause of the fire at the historic house of worship is still under investigation.
“It’s a very sad day today,” Nigro said. “They had their Mass at 10 a.m. and then a luncheon. The good news is that there was no one inside when the fire started and there are no injuries. One man is being checked out for smoke inhalation.”
Photos on Twitter showed flames shooting out the windows of the church as clouds of smoke billowed out the side.
Velic said his stepfather, Slobodan Ljubenko, 69, was the man who had to be checked for smoke inhalation after he ran inside the church to assess the scene.
“We looked outside and we could see the flames coming out from the windows,” he said…(read more)
Source: New York Post