Police: Fire breaks out at Saint Isidoros Greek Orthodox Church in Bethpage
A fire broke out at Saint Isidoros Greek Orthodox Church in Bethpage on Tuesday afternoon, police say.
They say the fire broke out at 1:45 p.m. and a section of Stewart Avenue had to be closed temporarily. It took around 75 firefighters to get the flames under control, officials say.
News 12 video of the fire shows items from the church being carried out in an attempt to save them from the flames.
Leaders of the church raced to try and save what they could after the fire tore through the building.
"It's very sad, it's very disappointing that we weren't able to catch it sooner," says church member George Katsaros.
A religious icon of the church's patron saint painted by the church's founder was saved from the destruction even though Katsaros says it was close to the fire.
"It did bubble up, but the image itself is still visible, it's one of the only icons that was not damaged that was that close to the fire," Katsaros says. "So, that in itself is a miracle to us."
He says holy relics of Saint Isidoros brought over from Greece were also saved from the fire.
The roadway was closed in both directions from Cherry Avenue to Cyprus Avenue while fire crews worked to put out the fire. It has since reopened.
There is no word yet on what caused the fire.
Members of the church hope the building is restored and the items will be able to return to their rightful places.
They say the inside of the church is severely damaged so it will need a total restoration.
A GoFundMe has been set up by church members to raise money for the rebuild.
They tell News 12 after decades of giving what they could to the community, they are now in their hour of need and are praying that the community will help.