In the small hours of this morning, a serious fire broke out at Union Baptist Church at the corner of Main Street and Locust Avenue, across from New Roc City and adjacent to Monroe College. The Fire Department, as always, responded swiftly and effectively, preventing the blaze from spreading to nearby structures. By the time I viewed the scene at about 2:30am, the bell tower had completely burned out and the main roof of the structure was engulfed in flames. As of this morning, the building is still smoldering. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Fortunately and most importantly, there have been no injuries. But this is a terrible blow for the members of Union Baptist.

It is also a loss for New Rochelle’s architectural heritage. The handsome and distinctive stone structure — more than a century old — is very badly damaged and its survival is uncertain. As one of our Fire Fighters on the scene reminded me, in a bit of cruel irony, this church figures prominently in a mural of downtown New Rochelle displayed in our Fire Department headquarters.

More details, and photos, are contained in this article from Patch.

A gallery of even more photos are available from the Journal News.