A early morning four-alarm fire has destroyed the Union Baptist Church on the corner of Locust and Main street in downtown New Rochelle. The church dated back to 1910 and has a rich history in the downtown. The 99-year old church was undergoing renovations in anticipation of the Church’s 100th anniversary.
Fire departments from Larchmont, Mamaroneck, White Plains, Mount Vernon and Yonkers were on the scene as the fire went to 4 alarms. The church fire started at 1:24 AM and is still not under control, The New Rochelle Building Department is on scene and will make a determination if the church might have to be torn down. The entire roof is gone and the walls are holding on but they are visibly shaking.
UPDATES: This story was originally posted at 4:30 AM and has been updated throughout the morning. We will continue to update this post until the fire is declared under control by NRFD.
3:03 AM – Main street is closed from North Avenue to Harrison Street, North Avenue is closed from Main Street to Huguenot Street.
3:42 AM – Monroe College dorms on Main Street were evacuated due to the heavy smoke conditions in the area. Water pressure in and around the area is low due to the amount of water that is being sprayed on the fire.
5:12 AM – Helicopters have been overflying the area all morning.
5:42 AM – Con Edison and John Cullen, the Westchester County Fire Coordinator, were on scene. Every news outlet in the area is present.
6:01 AM – There are reports of 1 firefighter being taken away in an ambulance, reportedly a hand injury.
7:52 AM – The there is still very heavy fire in basement according to Deputy Chief Lou Dimeglio of the New Rochelle Fire Department who spoke exclusively with Talk of the Sound. Dimeglio said the NRFD was waiting on a crane to take down the wall on the Main Street side because it was cracking and unstable. He said they were fighting the fire from the outside because all floors inside had collapsed and the entire building was too unstable.
9:15 AM – NRFD has poured an estimated 3.5mm gallons of water on the fire.
4:00 PM – From Fire Commissioner Doc Kiernan: “100 firefighters responded from New Rochelle, White Plains, Larchmont, Greenville (Greenburg) and Town of Mamaroneck- Firefighters from Pelham and Hartsdale covered our vacant firehouses. There were only three minor injuries: high carbon monoxide levels attributable to smoke inhalation. All treated and released.”
“Fire is not out; still smoldering under wreckage from the interior collapse. NRFD will keep fire watch for the next few days. There is a high wind warning in effect for tonight, which will fan flames. Tomorrow NRFD will begin investigation to determine how the fire started.”
4:00 PM – From City Manager Charles Strome: “Main Street Eastbound between North and Franklin Avenues will remain closed overnight. Final determination of the viability of the structure will be determined between City and Church officials tomorrow morning.”