NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An early-morning fire destroyed a Queens church and now parishioners are vowing to rebuild.
The fire broke out around 3 a.m. at the Deliverance Tabernacle Church on Sutter Avenue in South Ozone Park.
The fire started in the basement and traveled up to the main floor, fire officials said.
“Our hearts just melt because we love our church,” Pastor-Elect Toya Brown told CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown, “I cried at first because I saw that the sanctuary was being destroyed.”
The tabernacle was built in 1999 and Brown remembers their small congregation marching through the front doors.
Over the past 15 years, they’ve made it their home and a haven for their community.
“To come back here to see this devastation it just makes you emotional, cry because we put a lot of time and effort into the ministry,” Brown said.
“The damages are bad; the sanctuary’s pretty much gone — the instruments, the alter, that’s destroyed — but the cross is still up there, and it’s still standing,” said Pastor Joyce Lemmon. “So that in itself gives us strength and a determination to continue.”
Church leaders said they’ve already received several offers from other churches in the area to let them worship there until they can rebuild.
No injuries were reported.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Firefighters said there is nothing that indicates the fire is suspicious at this point, CBS 2 reported.
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