A 19th-century Brooklyn church that was a hub for Sandy volunteer efforts was damaged in a fire two days before Christmas. Katherine Creag reports.
A 19th-century Brooklyn church that was damaged in a fire Sunday is holding Christmas services.
More than 100 firefighters were dispatched to the two-alarm blaze around 4 a.m. Sunday at the Church of St. Luke and St. Matthew in Clinton Hill. No one was injured.
The Rev. Christopher Ballard said that gas cans were found at the church's entrances, so the fire appeared intentional.
"As far as we know, somebody tried to set the church on fire by pouring gas in front of the doors and setting the church on fire," Ballard said.
An arson unit was on the scene Sunday, though the Fire Department said there was no official determination yet on what caused the blaze.
Sunday's services were held at nearby Brown Memorial Baptist Church, but by Monday the church determined parishioners would be able to return to St. Luke and St. Matthew for Christmas Eve and Christmas services.
The church has worked with Occupy Sandy on relief efforts and served as a center for meal preparation and supply distribution throughout November.
When asked why someone might want to set the church ablaze, Ballard said he had no answers.
"Who knows why people do these things. These are dark deeds," he said. "In this season of forgiveness and reconciliation, we need to try to look beyond this and try to forgive whoever did this and understand that they are in need of help themselves."