New Jersey

‘This Was a Shock’: Four-Alarm Fire Destroys Historic NJ Church

Fire officials received a call reporting the blaze blaze at Shiloh Baptist Church in Elizabeth around 3:15 a.m. Sunday

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What to Know

  • A four-alarm fire destroyed Shiloh Baptist Church in Elizabeth, New Jersey overnight, officials said
  • The blaze was reported to around 3:15 a.m. Sunday, according to fire officials
  • A building next door was evacuated as a precaution. The cause of the fire is under investigation

A four-alarm fire destroyed a church in Elizabeth, New Jersey overnight, officials said. 

Fire officials received a call reporting the blaze blaze at Shiloh Baptist Church in Elizabeth around 3:15 a.m. Sunday.

A historic church in Elizabeth, New Jersey was reduced to rubble after a massive fire. Ken Buffa reports.

At one point, the church was fully engulfed in flames, video from the scene shows. A building next door was evacuated as a precaution, officials said. 

Church Pastor William Ingram was visibly shaken as he spoke to reporters at the scene of the blaze. 

We were anticipating waking up this morning coming to church to worship... and you wake up to this. [But] that's the nature of life, and you know, that's why we have faith.

Shiloh Baptist Church Pastor William Ingram

“I don’t have any idea [what happened]. It was fine yesterday evening, so, I don’t know what happened,” he said. “This was a shock, when I got the call this morning.” 

"We were anticipating waking up this morning coming to church to worship… and you wake up to this. [But] that’s the nature of life, and you know, that’s why we have faith," he added.

The church on Murray Street was founded in November 1879, according to its Facebook page. The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

“It’s sad. It’s a sad day when you have a church that catches on fire, especially one that’s pretty much destroyed," Elizabeth Fire Department Chief Thomas McNamara said.

"But… we have a strong community here in Elizabeth, so our other congregations, hopefully, are going to step up.” 

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