Source: The National Herald
Fire Ravages St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Babylon, New York
By TNH Staff
BABLYON, N.Y. – A fire broke out at 9:30 PM on July 21 that scorched the altar of the Church of St. Nicholas at 200 Great East Neck Road.
“It was bad, but it could have been a lot, lot worse,” the pastor, Rev. Demetrios Kazakis told Newsday, and “Driving to his church early Wednesday, was able to maintain a positive outlook on a fire that ravaged the altar area of the West Babylon building where he and hundreds of his parishioners worship,” Newsday reported.
Archbishop Demetrios, who was presiding over vespers at the Church of St. Markela in Wantaugh, raced to the Church to survey the damage and comfort parishioners.
Fire departments from West Babylon and Babylon responded and the fire was out in a little more than a half-hour, Kazakis said. Suffolk County’s Arson Squad is investigating the fire and no one was injured, police said, and Kazakis said he was most grateful for that.
A faulty refrigerator or its electrical cord may have started the fire in a backroom near the altar Kazakis said. Newsday added “It spread from the backroom to the entire altar area,” and Kazakis said “It combusted and started everything…There is extensive smoke and water damage to the areas above and around the altar.”
Kazakis said many things, including icons, were destroyed, mainly due to smoke and water damage, but he praised fire fighters for being able to save other items.
“Some of my personal items, vestments, liturgical books. All gone,” he said.
And although many articles were lost to smoke and water damage, Kazakis praised firefighters, saying they were able to save many other items.
“Early indications are there is no structural damage to the building, and the fire did not spread to any neighboring buildings…and the fire also knocked out the church’s phone system…Firefighters stayed long after the fire, as the heavy smoke took its time leaving the church; Kazakis said things didn’t get cleared up until close to 3 AM,” according to Newsday.
“We’ll be able to see a little more today…I know there is no way some things can be saved. But then I also know it really could have been worse,” said Kazakis, who will take inventory Wednesday morning.
Priest, parishioners vow to rebuild after fire at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church – Newsday