More than 170 firefighters from the New York City Fire Department are battling the blaze, which has been upgraded to a four-alarm incident.
— FDNY (@FDNY) May 1, 2016
While initial reports suggested that there might have been people trapped inside the burning building, fire crews working on site confirmed there were no injuries or casualties.
“We’re all alive, but the building is gone,” the parish priest, Fr. Djokan, told RT.
Firefighters are trying to contain the blaze that started at around 7:00pm local time.
— NYS Hock (@911fb) May 1, 2016
Additionally, the NYPD has reportedly requested a Level 1 Mobilization at the scene of the fire for crowd control.
— Fabrizio Chessa (@FabrizioChessa) May 1, 2016
Social Media footage from the scene of the accident on West 25th Street in Manhattan shows an inferno swallowing the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava, a historic church located at 15 West 25th Street between Broadway and the Avenue of the Americas in the NoMad neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City.
Huge fire at Serbian Orthodox Church on w 25th street in Manhattan – ppl crying, horrible fire pic.twitter.com/S5qTp2Eg9O
— Mike Gallagher (@radiotalkermike) May 1, 2016
The Gothic Revival-style cathedral is an 1850 creation of architect Richard M. Upjohn. The parish was part of the Episcopal Church for several decades until 1915.
— Micha Ward (@MGBWard) May 1, 2016
The Serbian Orthodox Church purchased the building, designated a New York City landmark, from the Episcopal Diocese in New York in 1943.
— Garcia de la Granja (@PilarGGranja) May 1, 2016
Prior to the devastating fire the church, according to its Facebook page, had been holding vibrant and joyful Easter liturgical celebrations.
“It’s heartbreaking. My parents were the first couple married there in 1944 after it was reconsecrated as an Orthodox church,” Melana Pejakovich, who now lives in Nevada, told RT. Her father was a soldier in the US Army at the time, and the wartime wedding was put together with the help of friends sharing their rations.
Sad news – One of historical New York City edifices, St. Sava’s Serbian Orthodox church engulfed in massive fire pic.twitter.com/YxOPZMMihY
— Sava Janjic (@SavaJanjic) May 2, 2016