Fire rips through historic Sheepshead Bay church for 2nd time in 11 years

SHEEPSHEAD BAY, Brooklyn — A fire ripped through a historic church in Brooklyn for the second time in 11 years, destroying the building and injuring a passing motorist.

Crews were called to the Emmanuel Episcopal Church on East 23rd Street in Sheepshead Bay at about 12:30 a.m Thursday.

Jacob Richards, a warden of the church for 30 years, said they survived another blaze a decade ago, where they believed faulty electrical wiring sparked that blaze. They had been rebuilding and fundraising ever since.

This time he said thinks they won't be able to rebuild.

"There's no rebuilding. Not as I can see anyway," Richards said.

As the building partially collapsed, pieces of it struck a passing motorcycle, FDNY officials said.

The driver suffered a shoulder injury.

“Had he been there another half a second earlier, he would have been crushed under the weight of the bricks,” an FDNY official said.

The 123-year-old church dates back to when many of the workers employed by race track owners were West Indians who embraced the Anglican faith, according to the church website.

The church locally prides itself for being the first racially integrated parish serving the West Indian population.

The church was still rebuilding and actively fundraising for repairs after suffering damage from a similar blaze in 2007.

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