Massive Fire Engulfs Brooklyn Catholic Church on Easter

A massive fire tore through the rectory of a Brooklyn church during Easter mass, leaving five people with minor injuries, WABC reported.

The blaze erupted at Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii at about 1:00 p.m. on March 31 shortly after the congregation gathered to celebrate Easter. Around two hundred firefighters battled the five-alarm blaze for four hours before getting it under control.

According to the FDNY, the fire destroyed the rectory. However, the church itself where the Easter service was held remained in much better shape due to the work of firefighters who kept the fire from spreading.

Assistant Chief Michael Myers said that except for water damage, the FDNY was able to save the church which remained undamaged from the flames.

Father Romulo Marin, who was leading the Easter service, said that during the service, smoke from the rectory fire began wafting into the church. The parishioners were safely evacuated while he tried to put the fire out with a fire extinguisher. Fr. Marin gave up fighting the fire on his own when it began to burn through the second floor.

A firefighter later fell through the hole in the second floor. According to Assistant Chief Myers, when the mayday call went out, the firefighter, unaware that it was for him, jumped up and ran back upstairs to respond to the mayday.

Fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire. Our Lady of the Rosary of Pompeii is more than 100 years old and much of its electrical wiring is dated.

Parishioner John Quaglione told WABC that the church has been “around for a long time” and all of the parishioners have developed a history with it. He said the damage was painful for everyone who worshipped there.

Fr. Marin said a fire on a day celebrating resurrection could be a sign of God destroying the old to make way for something new. He said he hoped that the church would return stronger.

There were no serious injuries from the fire. However, two firefighters were sent to the hospital where they were treated and released. The other injured were treated at the scene.