New York

Fire Devastates Historic New Jersey Church

The fire was so intense it ripped through the nearly 150-year-old structure in just minutes

A massive fire tore through a historic church in Bergen County Tuesday night.

Flames were bursting through the roof of First Presbyterian Church of Englewood on Palisade Avenue, Chopper 4 footage over the scene showed. 

The fire was so intense it ripped through the 146-year-old structure in just minutes. 

The pastor, the Rev. Richard Hong, told NBC 4 New York said the fire started around 7 p.m. It's not clear what sparked it. 

A 12-year-old girl whose grandfather lives across the street said she called 911 when she saw the flames. 

Shira Siegler cried when she saw and heard the destruction. 

The church was empty at the time but congregants gathered outside Tuesday night, helplessly watching as firefighters from multiple cities poured water on the church. 

With Easter just days away, more than 450 congregants will likely have to find a new place of worship. 

"It means so much to people," Hong said. "I think about all the people who got married here, were baptized here." 

The church was established in 1860, the first in Englewood and the first Presbyterian church in Bergen County, according to its website. Its current Victorian Gothic structure was built in 1870 and has been enlarged and remodeled over the years. 

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