A massive fire in New York City’s East Village destroyed a woman’s shelter and the iconic historical church that houses New York’s Liberty Bell along with other structures, The Christian Post reports.
The church, 128-year-old Middle Collegiate Church, was completely gutted by the fire, and the iconic New York Liberty Bell, which was rung in 1776 to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was almost destroyed by the blaze.
The church’s reverend, Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, said in a statement “We are devastated. We are gutted like our building is gutted; our hearts are crushed like our doors are crushed. But we know how to be the church, and we know that God is God, yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
A video posted to Twitter shows firefighters working to contain the blaze. In the video, the sound of firetrucks can be heard and gallons upon gallons of water being released from multiple firehoses as firefighters work to put out the massive fire can be seen.
In a Twitter post, New York City’s major, Bill de Blasio, called the fires “heartbreaking,” and went on to state “Middle Collegiate is such an icon of the East Village. I can’t count the number of times I walked past it and took in its humble beauty. @FDNY is continuing operations on the scene. We’ll do whatever we can to help Middle Collegiate rebuild.”
As of right now, it is unclear what caused the massive fire that gutted the church. But it is still being investigated.
Middle Collegiate Church was built in 1891, but the congregation has existed since 1628, with their first church building being built in 1791 at a different location. The New York Liberty Bell, which always belonged to the church, was cast in 1729. In addition, being rung at the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which is how it got its name as “New York’s Liberty Bell,” it was rung at the inaugurations and deaths of past Presidents.