Michelle Kim

Westchester County Church Goes Up in Flames 2 Days After Christmas

What to Know

  • Authorities are investigating a fire at a church in New Rochelle
  • Chopper 4 footage from the scene showed intense flames leaping from the heavily damaged roof; smoke billowed from every opening
  • No injuries were immediately reported; a cause of the fire is under investigation

A Westchester County church went up in flames two days after Christmas. 

Firefighters got a call about the blaze at Zion Evangelical Baptist Church on Lockwood Avenue in New Rochelle shortly before 8:30 a.m. Thursday. It quickly escalated to a three-alarm fire, working its way through the walls and the ceiling. 

Footage from Chopper 4 over the scene showed intense flames leaping from the heavily damaged roof, smoke ensconsing the entire structure and billowing out from all sides. No injuries were immediately reported. 

Parishioners watched in disbelief as dozens of firefighters worked to put out flames at the church, which has stood since 1924. Smoke could be seen for miles. 

Virginia Bertree said she last attended service there on Sunday: "It was nice, it was good. We had a good service." 

The inside of the church was covered in broken glass and debris from the fire, and puddles of water were everywhere. But the sanctuary was spared, and worshippers hope they'll be able to return soon in the new year.

"Thank God the structure's still standing," said Mark Riley. "The only thing i can do is pray. I hope things will be better in the new year." 

Five firefighters were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. A cause of the fire is under investigation. 

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